Tegh

Four Soldiers Killed as Azerbaijani Military Makes Further Incursions into Armenia

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YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Four Armenian soldiers were killed and six injured on April 11 while conducting engineering work when an Azerbaijani military jeep drove toward them near the village Tegh and shot them. Six were injured.

In addition, several Azerbaijani soldiers were killed when the Armenian side retaliated.

The dead servicemen, according to the Armenian Defense Ministry are: Arthur Avetis Sahakyan (1999) Mkrtich Armen Harutyunyan (1989) Henrik Vachagan Kocharyan (1997) Narek Gagik Sargsyan (1994)

The Armenian Defense Ministry said that its troops came under fire on Tuesday afternoon as they fortified one of their outposts just outside Tegh. It released an eight-minute video (https://www.mil.am/en/news/11414) that shows a large group of Azerbaijani soldiers approaching Armenian servicemen and then arguing and coming to blows with them. The scuffle degenerated into warning shots that apparently preceded the firefight.

Russia said on Wednesday that its soldiers and border guards deployed in nearby Armenian territory helped to stop the worst Armenian-Azerbaijani border clash in months. No further ceasefire violations have been reported from this or other sections of the border since Tuesday evening.

“This provocation is another Azerbaijani attack on the territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry charged on Tuesday night. It urged the international community to stop Baku from further escalating the situation.

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The European Union has called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to show “restraint” after the most deadly military clashes between the two foes in more than six months killed at least seven soldiers. Both sides exchanged artillery and machine gun fire over their unmarked border, with Azerbaijan warning it “will continue to take all necessary measures . . . to prevent provocations” from its neighbor.

France accused Azerbaijan of occupying Armenia’s sovereign territory when it reacted late on April 12 to the latest deadly clash on the border between the two South Caucasus states.

Azerbaijani army units took up new positions in the area on March 30 after advancing into what Yerevan regards as Armenian territory. Baku denies that they crossed the border.

“We reiterate that the delineation of the border must be achieved exclusively through negotiations, and we urge the Parties to continue their efforts to that end,” read a statement released by the French Foreign Ministry.

“Armenia’s territorial integrity must be respected and Azerbaijani forces occupying positions on the Armenian side of the line of contact must withdraw in order to prevent future incidents and preserve the foundations of a lasting peace in the region,” it said.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry condemned the “one-sided” statement and presented it as another example of France’s “biased attitude” towards Azerbaijan.

Unlike France, the European Union did not blame either side for the fighting. An EU foreign policy spokeswoman urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to withdraw their troops from the volatile border and respect each other’s territorial integrity.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan hailed the EU’s reaction on Thursday, saying that Yerevan has supported the idea of troop disengagement for the last two years. ”Such a solution is hampered by Azerbaijan’s unconstructive position,” he said.

“This incident yet again emphasizes that in the absence of a delimited border, the 1991 line must be respected and the forces of either side withdrawn to safe distances from this line to prevent any similar incidents from occurring,” an EU foreign policy spokeswoman, Nabila Massrali said in a statement.

Massrali also urged Yerevan and Baku to restart their stalled talks on the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

It is not clear whether Tuesday’s skirmishes were witnessed by any of some 100 EU monitors who were deployed along the Armenian side of the heavily militarized border in late February. The monitoring mission made no public statements.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said the latest fighting shows that Moscow was right to oppose the EU mission and warned that it could only heighten tensions between the two South Caucasus nations.

“We had … predicted the inevitable,” Zakharova told reporters in a clear jibe at the Armenian government.

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