Azerbaijani (left) and Armenian checkpoints at the Sotk gold mine on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Gegharkunik province, June 18, 2021

Fresh Fighting Reported On Armenian-Azerbaijani Border

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By Robert Zargarian

YEREVAN/BAKU (azatutyun.am) — Armenian and Azerbaijani forces have again exchanged fire along some sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border amid lingering tensions between the two states.

The two sides blamed each other for the latest skirmishes that reportedly began on Wednesday, December 9, continued overnight and resumed on Thursday afternoon.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said in the evening that Azerbaijani troops “opened intensive fire from firearms of different calibers” at Armenian military positions in Gegharkunik province bordering the Kelbajar district west of Nagorno-Karabakh. It said two Armenian soldiers were lightly wounded as a result.

The ministry reported similar Azerbaijani ceasefire violations in the same area on Wednesday.

The mayor of Verin Shorzha, a border village in Gegharkunik, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that he heard automatic gunfire “from one o’clock to around five o’clock in the morning.”

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The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said that one of its soldiers “was killed overnight as a result of a provocation by Armenia’s armed forces” at a Kelbajar section of the border. It said later on Thursday that Armenian army units again fired on Azerbaijani military positions there.

The two sides accused each other of violating the ceasefire two weeks after Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met in Sochi for talks hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The three leaders announced that they agreed to speed up preparations for demarcating the border between the two South Caucasus states.

It was announced ahead of the Sochi talks that the Armenian and Azerbaijani militaries will launch a direct communication link to prevent or minimize armed incidents. It was not immediately clear whether they used that link to stop the latest skirmishes.

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