Clashes at Armenia-Azerbaijan border, Yerevan calls on Moscow to help

17:35, 16 November 2021
Clashes at Armenia-Azerbaijan border, Yerevan calls on Moscow to help Photo:

Heavy border clashes were reported between Azeri and Armenian Armed forces on Tuesday, parties accuse each other of escalating the situation in the Karabakh region.

The Armenian Defense Ministry reported an Azerbaijan military attempt to break through the Armenian border in the eastern part of the country, in the Syunik region, on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

"Localized battles are taking place with the use of artillery, armored equipment and various caliber firearms. The [Azerbaijani military] has significant losses of personnel and materiel. Information on casualties on the Armenian side is being checked," the Armenian Defense Ministry said.

According to the authorities, four Armenian soldiers were wounded.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported military provocations by Armenian Armed Forces at the border in the Kelbajar and Lachin region as the Azerbaijani forces have destroyed the anti-tank installation and mortar. Baku reported at least two soldiers were injured.

“The counter-attack of the Armenian armed forces units was suppressed by the Azerbaijani servicemen,” The Azerbaijani force’s statement reads.

The Azerbaijani side believes that Yerevan is purposefully aggravating the situation and said that the Armenian military is using artillery.

Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry also accused Armenia of escalating the situation on the border.

"The current situation shows that Armenia is not interested in ensuring peace and security in the region, as well as in delimiting borders with Azerbaijan. The tension in the region is another military-political provocation of Armenia," the Azerbaijani statement says.

After the clashes were reported, the Secretary of the Armenian Security Council Armen Grigoryan told the Public Television of Armenia that the country urged Russia to help in protecting its territorial integrity.

"Since there has been an attack against the sovereign territory of Armenia, under the 1997 treaty we are addressing Russia with a call for protecting the territorial integrity of Armenia. A written request is being prepared," he said.

Grigoryan also expressed hopes that Russia will provide sufficient military assistance if peaceful negotiations with Azerbaijan fail.

However, Yerevan has not yet submitted to Moscow an official written request for assistance in connection with the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Armenian Ambassador to Russia Vardan Toganyan told TASS. According to Ambassador, consultations are currently underway between the parties.

The Russian Defense Minister, General of the Army Sergei Shoigu has called the the Defense Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan Suren Papikyan and Zakir Hasanov regarding the situation on the Azerbaijani-Armenian state border, the Russian MoD reported. Shougu urged to stop actions provoking the further escalation.

"The Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, Army General Shoigu, held telephone conversations with the Ministers of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Colonel General Zakir Hasanov, and the Republic of Armenia, Suren Papikyan. The heads of the military departments discussed the aggravation of the situation on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border close to Mount Kilisali. Shoigu called on both sides to stop actions that provoke an escalation of the situation," Russia's Ministry of Defense said.

"During the telephone conversation, Colonel General Z. Hasanov noted that the provocations committed by Armenia on the state border of the two countries were resolutely suppressed. General of the Army Sergey Shoigu expressed readiness to make efforts to end military operations and stabilize the situation," the Azerbaijani MoD stated.

The Armenian Defense Ministry confirmed that the Russian Defense Minister expressed readiness to "make every effort" to assist in stabilizing the tensions.

According to Yerevan, several people were killed while some soldiers were taken prisoner by the Azerbaijan military. Armenian Parliament later said that its 15 soldiers had died in clashes, the Interfax news agency cited the head of the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations Eduard Aghajanyan.

At least 12 Armenian servicemen were captured by Azerbaijani soldiers, including 7 contracted and 5 conscripts, the Armenian Defense Ministry said later on Tusday. The Azerbaijani side also reportedly had some "losses in personnel, around a dozen Azerbaijani units of armored vehicles have been destroyed or taken out of service."

The Armenian Defense Ministry also announced the loss of two combat positions. According to the local media, the shootout began after the Azerbaijani military demanded the Armenian Armed Forces to leave two combat posts in the area, while the Armenian military refused to do so.

On Monday the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan of invading Armenia by advancing its troops beyond the borders going against previously reached accords. Azerbaijan responded by saying that Armenia’s statements were nothing other than a provocation adding that the Azeri military was operating within the line of the country’s borders.

In November, the situation in Karabakh and border districts of the Syunik Region of Armenia aggravated drastically. Both countries reported frequent armed incidents resulting in several casualties. On November 13, an unknown man threw a grenade at Russian and Azerbaijani soldiers at a block post near Karabakh border. Three soldiers were reportedly wounded in the attack.

The Karabakh conflict escalated into full-scale war in 2020. Tensions between Yerevan and Baku remained following the 44-day military conflict along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, resulting in more than 6,500 people being killed.

The clashes were stopped with a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement on November 10, in accordance with which Azerbaijan was reunited with some territories lost in the previous conflicts.