In a report on Monday the Ministry said Vahan Tatosyan, a 46-year-old senior non-commissioned officer, was fatally wounded by a sniper at the Yeraskh section of the border with Azerbaijan’s western exclave of Nakhichevan in the morning.
“The Armenian Defense Ministry shares the grief over the loss and expresses support to the family, relatives and colleagues of the killed serviceman,” it said, claiming that Azerbaijan also suffered losses as a result of “retaliatory actions taken by the Armenian side.”
The Azerbaijani side has denied any responsibility for the death of the Armenian serviceman.
Later, on Monday evening, the Armenian Defense Ministry said that another Armenian soldier, 19-year-old private Arman Hakobian, was killed by fire opened by Azerbaijani armed forces in the Gegharkunik section of the border. It said Armenian forces returned fire, killing at least three Azerbaijani soldiers and wounding at least one.
Earlier on August 16, the Armenian Defense Ministry also reported an attempt by Azerbaijani armed forces to advance at the Syunik part of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, particularly in the area of Sev Lich (Black Lake).
The Defense Ministry said that the Azerbaijani side suffered at least one casualty during the skirmish, while there were no casualties on the Armenian side.
Official Baku denied any casualties on the Azerbaijani side in that incident, but reported a ceasefire violation in the Nakhichevan part of the border, placing the responsibility on the Armenian side.
The latest escalation at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border comes amid intensifying claims by Baku about ceasefire violations by Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh where Russian peacekeepers were deployed after last autumn’s 44-day war in which Azerbaijani forces reestablished control over all seven districts around the disputed region as well as chunks of Soviet Azerbaijan’s former autonomous oblast proper.
In an interview with CNN Turk television on August 14, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, in particular, claimed that under the terms of the November 9, 2020 ceasefire brokered by Moscow Armenia must not deploy troops within Nagorno-Karabakh.
He further stated that Russia should not rearm Armenia which lost much of its military hardware in last year’s war.
Aliyev again urged Armenia to sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan by which the two neighboring South Caucasus countries would recognize each other’s territorial integrity as well as open transport corridors – a railroad and a highway – for Azerbaijan to be connected with its exclave of Nakhichevan and further to Turkey via Armenia’s southern Syunik province.
Earlier, on August 12, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said that Armenia was ready to engage in talks on reopening transport links between the two states and to embark on a demarcation of the border. He again insisted, however, that Azerbaijani should first withdraw from Armenia’s border areas.
Baku has ruled out such a withdrawal, saying that its troops took up new positions on the Azerbaijani side of the frontier.
On several occasions earlier Pashinian also rejected Azerbaijan’s demand for a “corridor”, stressing that the Russia-brokered ceasefire deal commits both sides to reopening transport links and has no reference to any specific transport link with the status of a corridor through Syunik.