The Armenian Defense Ministry said its troops deployed along “eastern sections” of Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan came under Azerbaijani mortar and small arms fire from 6 p.m. local time. It said they returned fire.
The ministry spokesman, Aram Torosian, reported later in the evening that three Armenian soldiers died in the fighting. The exchange of gunfire largely stopped by 10 p.m., said Torosian.
Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry accused the Armenian side of opening fire at Azerbaijani positions in the Kelbajar district bordering eastern Armenia. It said that one Azerbaijani serviceman was wounded as a result.
The fresh border clashes came amid ongoing Western efforts to cement the ceasefire agreed by Baku and Yerevan earlier this month after two days of large-scale fighting that left at least 280 troops from both sides dead.
Senior Armenian and Azerbaijani officials met in Washington late on Tuesday for peace talks hosted by U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Sullivan said they “identified concrete steps forward in support of a stable and lasting peace.”
“This is an attack against Armenian independence, sovereignty and democracy,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian tweeted at around midnight. “The Azerbaijani invasion must be condemned and stopped.”
Pashinian again called for the deployment of an international observer mission in Armenian border areas “affected by Azerbaijani occupation.”
For its part, the Armenian Foreign Ministry accused Azerbaijan of continuing military aggression against Armenia and defying the international community’s persistent calls to adhere to the ceasefire. It also charged that Baku is trying to torpedo a fresh meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers planned by them.
“This proves the Armenian side’s warnings that Azerbaijan is planning to continue the use of force and its maximalist policy,” added the statement.