Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of ceasefire violations along their border hours after three Azerbaijani soldiers were reportedly wounded in a blast at a Nagorno-Karabakh checkpoint in an incident that led to a temporary closure of the Russian-controlled corridor vital for the region’s ethnic Armenians.
Armenia’s Ministry of Defense said on November 13 that Azerbaijani forces opened fire at Armenian positions in the eastern Gegharkunik province shortly after midday.
“The enemy fire was suppressed with retaliatory actions. There are no casualties on the Armenian side,” it said in a brief statement.
Azerbaijan, for its part, accused Armenian armed forces of using sniper rifles and grenade-launchers in firing at its military positions stationed in the Kalbajar district bordering on Armenia on Saturday afternoon. Military authorities in Baku said skirmishes were ongoing as of late afternoon, but reported no casualties.
The latest border escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan comes amid rising tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh where one Armenian civilian was killed and three others were wounded by Azerbaijani forces near the Azeri-controlled town of Shushi (Susa) on November 8.
Ethnic Armenian authorities in Stepanakert condemned the attack against whom they said were utility workers repairing a water pipe.
An Armenian person threw an explosive device at an Azerbaijani checkpoint near Shushi early on November 13.
Russian peacekeepers detained the man and handed him over to the ethnic Armenian authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan, which said that three Azerbaijani soldiers were injured in the incident, identified the man as a national of Armenia who acted together with a “group of criminals” in carrying out what prosecutors in Baku described as a “terrorist act.”
De-facto Armenian authorities in Stepanakert said that a joint investigation with Russian peacekeepers was underway to establish the circumstances of the incident. In a statement they added, however, that the person who threw the explosive device did so in response to “provocative actions” of Azerbaijani soldiers. Nagorno-Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian authorities also insisted that no one was hurt in the incident.
Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a 44-day war over Nagorno-Karabakh last fall. The hostilities in which nearly 7,000 people were killed were halted due to a Russia-brokered ceasefire agreement signed on November 9, 2020, that granted Azerbaijan control of parts of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as adjacent territories that had been controlled by Armenians for nearly three decades.