The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan said on Monday that Mark Cameron, the director of the department’s Office of Caucasus Affairs and Regional Conflicts, travelled to Gegharkunik province to meet with the commander of an Armenian army corps stationed in the area and “observe the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.”
A statement released by the embassy said Cameron also visited the border village of Sotk which was heavily shelled by Azerbaijani forces during the September 13-14 hostilities.
“During his visit, he underscored the continued U.S. support for Armenia’s sovereignty, and lasting peace in the South Caucasus,” added the statement.
During the two-day hostilities, Azerbaijani troops attacked and seized Armenian border posts in Gegharkunik and two other Armenian provinces.
The U.S. State Department publicly urged Azerbaijan on September 26 to “return troops to their initial positions.” Baku denies occupying any Armenian territory.
Speaking in the Russian city of Saint-Petersburg on Monday, the deputy chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on defense and security, Armen Khachatrian, said that Azerbaijan seized a total of 127 square kilometers of Armenia’s territory in 2021 and this year. Khachatrian, who is affiliated with the ruling Civil Contract party, did not go into details and could not be reached for further comment later in the day.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said earlier that Armenia lost 41 square kilometers of land in 2021 and another 10 square kilometers during the September border clashes. The figure given by Khachatrian suggests that the Azerbaijani territorial gains made last month were much bigger than what was claimed by Pashinian.
The Armenian Defense Ministry has still not officially specified the number of border posts lost by its troops on September 13-14. The ministry spokesman, Aram Torosian, said on Monday that those losses are still being “clarified.”
Armenian opposition leaders have portrayed the outcome of the recent border clashes as further proof of Pashinian’s incompetence and inability to rebuild the country’s armed forces. They also blame him for Armenia’s defeat in the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Pashinian claimed on October 17 that Baku is looking for an excuse to launch “new military aggression against Armenia.”