Armenia has reported that four of their soldiers were killed, with an additional one wounded, after small arms fire erupted on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Armenia stated that the wounded soldier is in “moderate” condition, with “no threat to life”.
Armenia’s Ministry of Defence reported that the clashes began at 5:30AM local time on February 13th after “units of the Azerbaijani armed forces discharged fire from small arms towards the Armenian combat positions in the vicinity of Nerkin Hand”. Nerkin Hand is located on Armenia’s eastern border with Azerbaijan, in the Syunik province.
Armenia released a series of statements on the incident, however they did not state whether or not they fired back. While Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence has yet to release a statement on the incident, and if they potentially suffered any casualties from any return fire, Azerbaijan’s border service released a statement, calling the attack a “revenge operation”.
The incident comes after Azerbaijan accused Armenian troops of firing at their positions close to Kokhanabi, in the north, on February 12th. Azerbaijan claimed that Armenia fired at their positions at 8:50PM and 11:40PM.
Armenia denied the February 12th shooting, accusing Azerbaiajan of “spreading disinformation”, and that the Azeri claim “does not align with reality”.
Azerbaijan claims that one border guard was injured during the February 12th incident, who was then evacuated by helicopter to a medical facility.
A Period of Calm
The clashes are the first such in a while, after the very tense border went without violent incident for several months. Such clashes used to be commonplace, and though the border has remained tense, clashes have not happened largely due to slight progress being made in peace processes between the two nations.
Peace processes have been largely stagnant over the past several years, with a number of different issues bogging down the peace initiatives headed by various different international entities, including Russia, the US, the EU, France, and more.
The border clashes are likely to make the problem worse.