Tension in Nagorno Karabakh: Armenia reported the death of four soldiers after an attack by Azerbaijani forces

The forces of Armenia and Azerbaijan had a new armed confrontation in Nagorno Karabakh (Europa Press) (AZERBAI MINISTRY OF DEFENSE /)

A new act of tension occurred this Tuesday in Nagorno Karabagh, on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. At least seven soldiers died in a new armed incident between the armies of both countries.

According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, four soldiers from its forces were killed and six others wounded during an enemy attack.

Azerbaijani forces opened fire on the Armenian military who were carrying out engineering work near the town of Tej, in the south of the country, around 4:00 p.m. local time (12:00 GMT), the source said.

For his part, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense reported the death of three of its soldiers in clashes with Armenian troops.

The Azerbaijani military, for its part, accused the Armenian side of opening fire on their positions.

Both sides agreed in pointing out that the situation in the area had stabilized after several hours of shooting.

The situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, particularly in the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabagh, has worsened in recent months.

Armenia accuses the Azerbaijani troops of having started the armed confrontation (Europa Press)
Armenia accuses the Azerbaijani troops of having started the armed confrontation (Europa Press) (AZERBAI MINISTRY OF DEFENSE /)

Azerbaijan closed the only route connecting that enclave with Armeniawhile both sides accuse each other of violating the truce signed after the bloody 2020 war for control of Karabakh, a territory with a majority Armenian population that has been a focus of conflict since it decided to separate in 1988 from the Azerbaijan region integrated into the Soviet Union.

During six weeks of intense fighting in 2020 that ended in a Russian-brokered truce, Azerbaijan seized control of the territories and part of Nagorno-Karabakh itself. Russia sent a peacekeeping force tasked with maintaining order and protecting the Lachin corridor.

But in December, protesters claiming to be environmental activists they started blocking the roadalleging that Armenia carried out illegal mining activities in the region.

Armenia maintains that the protests are orchestrated by Azerbaijan. In turn, Azerbaijan alleges that the Armenians have used the corridor to transport land mines to Nagorno-Karabakh, in violation of the terms of the armistice.

The road blockade has caused food shortages in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan has also regularly cut off gas and electricity supplies.

Weeks ago the Armenian prime minister accused the Russian-dominated alliance of abandoning his country amid tensions with Azerbaijan.

Armenia criticized Russia's mediating role in recent times (AP Photo/Sergei Grit)
Armenia criticized Russia’s mediating role in recent times (AP Photo/Sergei Grit) (Sergei Grits/)

Pashinian has been repeatedly critical of what he sees as the failure of the alliance, known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSO), to protect its member Armenia.

Russia, which has been trying to maintain good relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, has been performing a delicate diplomatic balancing act, avoiding any emphatic action. The Kremlin’s influence in the region has diminished as it turns its attention to the conflict in Ukraine.

At a press conference, Pashinian said that Armenia is not withdrawing from the CSTO, but that “the CSTO is withdrawing from Armenia, willingly or unwillingly.”

At the end of March, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Prime Minister of Armenia discussed tensions in the territory of Nagorno Karabagh. The leaders discussed “various aspects of the current situation in Nagorno Karabagh,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

The official note added that Putin and Pashinian emphasized the importance of compliance with the agreements reached after the 2020 war for the settlement of the situation in the region where a Russian peace contingent is deployed.

With information from EFE and AP

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