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Armenia Reports ‘Intense’ Gunfire On Azeri Border


Armenia - An Armenian soldier stands guard on the border with Azerbaijan's Nakhichevan exclave, 14 May 2016.

The Armenian military accused Azerbaijani forces of again opening fire on Monday evening at its positions along a section of Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan where deadly fighting was reported last week.

The Defense Ministry in Yerevan said its troops deployed outside the village of Yeraskh bordering Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave came under heavy gunfire after two days of relative calm. It said no Armenian soldiers were killed or wounded in the resulting “intensive shootout.”

A ministry statement warned that continued Azerbaijani truce violations would meet with a “tough reaction” from the Armenian side. “Azerbaijan’s military-political leadership bears full responsibility for the escalation of the situation,” it said.

Both sides reported last week fighting in the area about 70 kilometers south of Yerevan. One Armenian soldier was killed there on Wednesday as a result of what Yerevan called an Azerbaijani attempt to move closer to an Armenian border post.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry blamed the Armenian side for the skirmishes which also left at least one Azerbaijani soldier wounded.

At a meeting held in Baku earlier on Monday, Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov reportedly ordered Azerbaijani army units to thwart Armenian armed “provocations” along the border between the two countries. Echoing a recent statement by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, he said they must be prepared for another war with Armenia.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian accused Baku on Saturday of planning to provoke “new military clashes in Karabakh and along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.” He pointed to the armed incidents at the Yeraskh-Nakhichevan border section.

The skirmishes reported there came amid a continuing military standoff along other portions of the frontier where Azerbaijani troops reportedly advanced several kilometers into Armenian territory in May.

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