Azerbaijan today once again violated the 2020 ceasefire, after they advanced into Artsakh Defence Army held territory, taking control of a key road. Azerbaijan alleges that the road has been repeatedly used by “illegal Armenian armed detachments” to transport military equipment. Artsakh authorities deny this, stating “As stated by Artsakh officials, road in question is used for the organization of civil and urgent communication between the four communities of Stepanakert and Shushi region”. Their allegations of the road being used for military transport has resulted in ceasefire violations in the past. On March 5th three Artsakh police officers and two Azeri soldiers were killed in a shootout between the two sides (the full story can be viewed here: https://theatlasnews.co/brief/2023/03/05/at-least-3-killed-in-shootout-between-artsakh-and-azerbaijan/ ) Todays violation resulted in no casualties.
Today, under false pretenses of ammunition transport, Azerbaijan’s armed forces violated the line of contact established by the Nov 2020 tripartite agreement, making positional advancements in the Shushi-Lisagor area in Artsakh. 1/2
— Artsakh Information Center (@ArtsakhCenter) March 25, 2023
Russian peacekeepers have been notified of the latest incident, and have stated they are presently in talks with Azerbaijan to withdraw from the area, and “stop engineering work” that Azerbaijan began after taking the position.
Azerbaijan’s MoD released a statement on the incident, which can be read in full below.
”The transportation of manpower, ammunition, mines, as well as other military equipment from Armenia for illegal Armenian armed detachments in the territory of Azerbaijan, where the Russian peacekeeping forces are temporarily deployed, has intensified in recent days. This transportation is carried out, in particular, by taking advantage of the night hours and foggy weather conditions.
Illegal Armenian armed detachments carry out work on laying new roads along several routes passing through some mountainous and unpaved areas, as well as expanding old trails. For this purpose, military, engineering, and special equipment are used, as well as persons, undergoing military service under a contract, and local residents are involved as a labor force.
Over the past few days, the intensification of unlawful construction and improvement work done by Armenians on the Khankendi-Khalfali-Turshsu road and Khankendi-Kosalar-Mirzalar-Turshsu road passing to the north of the mentioned route was recorded by the Azerbaijan Army’s technical surveillance means. These roads are also used for the provision and supply of the combat positions of illegal Armenian armed detachments.
Despite numerous appeals of the Azerbaijani side and discussions in this regard, no necessary measures have been taken to suppress the transportation of ammunition and other military means to date.
Taking into account the current situation, necessary local control measures were taken by the Azerbaijan Army Units to suppress the use of dirt roads north of the Lachin road for illegal activities, as well as the aggravation of the situation by the transportation of weapons and ammunition by Armenia and the commitment of potential provocations.”