A tractor that Armenian authorities in Stepanakert say was damaged when Azerbaijani forces opened fire at farmers working in the field near the village of Khramort in the east of Nagorno-Karabakh. November 12, 2022.

Armenian PM Reacts to Reported Shooting at Farmers in Karabakh

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YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Monday, November 14, further questioned Azerbaijan’s narrative concerning Nagorno-Karabakh as he reacted to a reported shooting by Azerbaijani soldiers at Karabakh farmers working in the field over the weekend.

Armenian authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said on Saturday, November 12, that one civilian was injured while carrying out agricultural work near the village of Khramort in the east of the region.

They said the 45-year-old farmer was harmed by fragments of the windshields of a tractor fired at from nearby Azerbaijani military positions and that another Armenian farmer was also present there during the attack.

Officials in Stepanakert said the Russian peacekeepers were informed about the incident. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the incident, but Baku has not commented on it yet.

The Russian Defense Ministry also confirmed a similar incident in Nagorno-Karabakh a week before when Stepanakert said Azerbaijani armed forces opened fire at a civilian’s tractor in the same area. Baku then denied any shooting at civilians.

The latest incident prompted the Armenian leader to post a comment on Twitter countering statements by Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev that the Karabakh conflict “has been resolved” and “is now history.”

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“Azerbaijan calls Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh ‘our citizens’ and, at the same time, shoots at them while they are doing agricultural work,” Pashinyan wrote.

The Armenian premier said that three civilians have been killed and 16 wounded since Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a Russia-brokered ceasefire agreement on November 9, 2020. There were, according to him, another 54 cases of “attempted murder.”

“Is this the implementation of Azerbaijan’s narrative saying ‘the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is solved’?” Pashinyan asked.

In his remarks late last week, the Armenian leader accused Azerbaijan of planning to cut a transport link between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia known as the Lachin corridor and seeking to end the presence of Russian peacekeepers in the region. He argued that this was an indication that Baku was “preparing the ground for a genocide” against Karabakh Armenians.

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday described Pashinyan’s statements as “an attempt to deliberately escalate tensions in the region.”

French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly had a phone call with Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev on Saturday, stating about Paris’s readiness to support normalization between the two South Caucasus nations and “work on a political solution in the region that would make it possible to establish peace.”

The French leader also “welcomed the stabilizing effect” of the civilian monitoring mission of the European Union on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The decision to deploy the mission along the border from the Armenian side was reached at the October 6 talks in Prague between Macron, President of the European Council Charles Michel, as well as Pashinyan and Aliyev.

The Elysée Palace announced that Macron intended to meet with Pashinyan on the sidelines of the Francophone Summit in Tunisia on November 19. Official Yerevan has not yet announced the Armenian leader’s immediate plans connected with a possible visit to Tunisia and a meeting with Macron.

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