STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL and ArmeniaNow) — Azerbaijani tanks shelled positions in the Nagorno-Karabagh region for the first time in 21 years, the Defense Ministry of the republic said on December 9.
“For the first time since the cease-fire [in 1994], Azerbaijan has used tanks on the Karabagh front line,” killing one soldier identified as Garik Avanesian, the ministry said. “Some 1,500 shots were fired from tanks and grenade-launchers,” the statement added.
Azerbaijan said Armenia had acted first, firing mortar rounds at settlements in Azerbaijan.
“The regime in Armenia bears responsibility for all of this,” Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said.
Azerbaijan’s ministry warned it would launch retaliatory strikes on “enemy” army positions in Nagorno-Karabagh.
The US State Department condemned the violence and urged all sides to adhere to the cease-fire.