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EU Border Monitoring Mission In Armenia Confirms Gunfire In Area Of One Of Its Patrols


Armenia -- Vehicles carrying EUMA members near the Armenian-Azerbaijani border (file photo).
Armenia -- Vehicles carrying EUMA members near the Armenian-Azerbaijani border (file photo).

The European Union’s border monitoring mission in Armenia on August 15 confirmed that there had been gunfire in the area of one of its patrols along the border with Azerbaijan.

“We confirm that an EU monitoring mission patrol was present at the shooting incident in our area of responsibility,” EU Mission in Armenia (EUMA) said on X, formerly known as Twitter. The post, which corrected a previous statement saying no EUMA patrol had been a target of shooting, also said no mission member had been hurt.

The statement came after Armenia said Azerbaijan’s military had opened fire on the observers monitoring the border between the two countries. Azerbaijan denied responsibility for the incident.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said the shooting took place as EU observers patrolled the village of Verin Shorzha, about 6 kilometers from the border. It also said there were no casualties.

Azerbaijan said the claims amounted to disinformation and that Baku had been told in advance of the patrols.

“The units of the Azerbaijani Army have been informed about the visits of the mission, so the incident reported by the Armenian Defense Ministry is theoretically and practically impossible,” the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said.

The EU, which launched its border monitoring mission earlier this year, has taken on a broader mediation role between the two countries as they deal with disputes over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Tensions between Baku and Yerevan have escalated sharply in recent days as both sides accuse the other of cross-border gunfire and violating the ceasefire agreement. Armenia has sounded the alarm over humanitarian aid deliveries to Nagorno-Karabakh over the Lachin Corridor linking the Armenian-populated region to Armenia.

The UN Security Council is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on August 16 on the issue of humanitarian access to Nagorno-Karabakh, which Yerevan and Stepanakert say has been denied for months by Azerbaijan after it imposed an “illegal blockade” on the region.

During the session in New York Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan will discuss the worsening humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin Corridor.

Azerbaijan denies blockading Nagorno-Karabakh and has offered an alternative route for supplies via the town of Agdam, which is situated east of the region and is controlled by Baku.

Russia on August 15 urged Azerbaijan to open the Lachin Corridor. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement following a telephone call between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Jeyhun Bayramov.

“Particular emphasis was placed on the need for the practical implementation of steps previously agreed in principle, aimed at the speedy de-escalation of the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh, including the unblocking of humanitarian routes, including the Lachin Corridor,” the statement said.

Russia brokered a ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan that ended their 44-day war over Nagorno-Karabakh in November 2020. Since then it has deployed about 2,000 peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh, including along the Lachin Corridor, under the terms of the agreement. Yerevan and Stepanakert insist that Azerbaijan’s installing a checkpoint along the vital road is a violation of the ceasefire deal.

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