Deadly Fighting Erupts On Armenia-Azerbaijan Border

Deadly Fighting Erupts On Armenia-Azerbaijan Border

Armenian and Azerbaijani troops exchanged fire in deadly fighting that broke out along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on Tuesday.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said that its troops came under Azerbaijani fire late in the afternoon as they fortified their positions outside Tegh, a border village in southeastern Syunik province. It said they returned fire.

The ministry added that the Armenian side suffered casualties. It did not give any numbers.

Tegh residents told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that they heard the sounds of gunfire from nearby Azerbaijani army positions which lasted for about 30 minutes.

The Defense Ministry said about an hour later that the fighting resumed and intensified, with Azerbaijani forces using mortars. “Armenian army units are taking necessary defensive measures,” it said in a short statement.

The Azerbaijani military blamed the Armenian side for the deadly fighting and said it is taking “adequate retaliatory measures.”

Armenian media outlets also reported fighting at another section of the long border. The authorities in Yerevan did not immediately confirm those reports.

The clashes began in a border area where the Azerbaijani army took up new positions on March 30 after advancing into what Yerevan regards as sovereign Armenian territory adjacent to the Lachin corridor connecting Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) claimed on April 1 that the situation in the area “improved significantly” after negotiations held by Armenian and Azerbaijani officials. Tegh residents countered, however, that the Azerbaijani troops did not retreat from any of their newly occupied positions.

The Armenian opposition blamed Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s government for Baku’s fresh territorial gains. Opposition leaders said the Armenian army or border guards should have taken up positions along the Armenian side of the Tegh border section ahead of the Azerbaijani advance.

Pashinyan said on April 6 that Armenia should continue to exercise caution and avoid another escalation.