The Armenian Defense Ministry has accused Azerbaijani forces of repeatedly firing at its border posts outside the village of Yeraskh over the past week. An Armenian soldier was killed in one such skirmish reported on July 14.
The ministry said that its troops deployed in the area about 70 kilometers south of Yerevan came under heavy gunfire on Monday evening. It said that the Azerbaijani side used mortars in the cross-border fighting that continued into the early hours of Tuesday.
No exchanges of gunfire were reported from the Yeraskh area later in the morning and in the afternoon.
According to a ministry spokesman, the head of the village administration, Radik Oghikian, was wounded while trying to extinguish a fire, apparently caused by gunshots, late in the evening. Oghikian was hospitalized and operated on in the following hours.
“He took a water pump to help put out the fire and was hit by shrapnel,” a Yeraskh resident told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “His condition is good right now.”
This and other villagers said they heard unusually loud gunshots overnight. They suggested that the Yeraskh border section saw the heaviest fighting in years.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry accused the Armenian side of violating the ceasefire and wounding an Azerbaijani army officer. Another Azerbaijani serviceman was reportedly wounded last week.
The mayors of border villages located in two other Armenian provinces also reported cross-border firing on the night from Monday to Tuesday.
Nerses Shadunts, the head of a community consisting of several villages in southeastern Syunik province, said that Azerbaijani troops “sporadically” fired automatic weapons in the air for about three hours.
Sima Chitchian, who runs the border village of Kut in Gegharkunik province, heard similar gunfire which she said broke out late on Monday and lasted for more than three hours. “It was a sound of heavy weapons,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.
Kut is located at one of the several sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border where Azerbaijani troops reportedly advanced a few kilometers into Armenian territory in May.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian accused Baku on Saturday of planning to provoke “new military clashes” along the frontier and in Nagorno-Karabakh. He pointed to the armed incidents at the Yeraskh-Nakhichevan section.
On Monday morning, Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov reportedly ordered Azerbaijani army units to thwart Armenian “provocations” on the border. Echoing a recent statement by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, he said they must be prepared for another war with Armenia.