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Fresh clashes reported in Nagorno-Karabakh

15 October 2021
Hills near Martuni (Aghdara), Nagorno-Karabakh. Photo: OC Media.

Fresh clashes have broken out between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh over the past two days, with at least one soldier killed and six wounded.

Both sides have blamed each other for the latest fighting, while the situation is now stable.

In the latest alleged incidents on Friday afternoon, the Nagorno-Karabakh Defence Army accused Azerbaijani forces of opening fire at an Ambulance stationed at a military position in the northeast of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenian authorities also accused Azerbaijani forces of opening fire on Armenian positions in the village of Yeraskh, on the border between Armenia and the Azerbaijani enclave of Nakhchivan. No one was injured in either incident.

On Thursday evening, one Azerbaijani soldier was killed while at least six Armenian soldiers were injured, with two in critical condition, near the village of Norshen (Yenikand), in the east of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijani authorities said that Afgan Khamzayev Bahram was killed by Armenian sniper fire, a claim denied by the Armenian Defence Ministry.

A spokesperson for the President of Nagorno-Karabakh accused Azerbaijan of using suicide drones on Armenian positions leading to the six Armenian casualties. 

The Defence Army of Nagorno-Karabakh also denied Azerbaijani claims that an Armenian UAV was captured by Azerbaijani forces.

On Wednesday, the Russian Defence Ministry reported that an Azerbaijani convoy transporting construction equipment that was accompanied by Russian peacekeepers was fired upon.

‘No one was injured as a result of the incident’, the ministry stated, adding that the peacekeeping force was investigating the incident ‘in cooperation with representatives of both sides’.

The latest clashes followed the death of 55-year-old Armenian civilian Aram Tepnants, who was shot dead in the town of Martakert (Aghdara) on 9 October. Armenian authorities have said Tepnants was shot by an Azerbaijani sniper, a claim denied by Azerbaijan.

[Read more: Nagorno-Karabakh civilian shot dead in apparent ceasefire violation]

Both sides have issued condemnations over the violence.

In a statement on Friday, the Armenian Foreign Ministry condemned the previous day’s incident. ‘We note that this was the second serious violation of the ceasefire by Azerbaijan in a week, as a result of which civilians and military personnel are suffering’, they said. 

In a statement on Thursday evening, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry said that ‘illegal Armenian armed groups in the territory of Azerbaijan, where Russian peacekeepers are temporarily stationed, have once again committed an act of terrorism.’

On Friday, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry also issued a statement in connection with the death of a servicemember. 

‘This provocation committed by the Armenian armed forces during the Russian-mediated meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers demonstrates the revanchist position of the Armenian side, as well as attempts to obstruct the activities of Russian peacekeepers’, the statement said.

For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.

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