The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan has confirmed in a written statement a new skirmish erupted at the contact line between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh killing troops from both side yesterday.
“On February 25, military units of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces destroyed the permanent firing position, shelling positions and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) of the Armenian side,” the statement read. Noting that the Azerbaijani side “suffered losses”, the statement does not specify the number of the soldiers killed in the fighting.
Colonel Shair Ramaldanov told
that no territorial loss has been registered and that the bodies of fallen soldiers are still in the neutral zone.
“Now serious measures are being taken to return the bodies of those killed [from the field]. The International Committee of the Red Cross has been notified about the incident. The problem is that the Armenian side had snipers on the front line. Therefore, it is difficult to take the bodies of the killed soldiers”, Ramaldanov was quoted as saying.
Ramaldanov has also stated that the incident was a follow up of previous skirmishes and is directly related to the movement of Armenian intelligence groups. The colonel added that tanks and all other artillery are now on the front line.
Commenting on the incident Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesperson of the Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry, has stated that tension on the frontline is “a continuation of political subversion like the illegal referendum held in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan on February 20”.
“Armenia’s political and military provocations aim at
a peaceful solution of the conflict and tends to distract the international community’s attention from Armenia’s responsibility of the Khojaly massacre on its 25
anniversary”, Hajiyev was quoted as saying by APA news agency. He also added that the tension would also help the Armenian government to strengthen its social support in the country on the eve of upcoming parliamentary elections.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a separatist, mountainous enclave inside Azerbaijan predominantly populated by ethnic Armenians. It is de-facto under Armenian control since 1994 when a ceasefire was signed trying to put an end to a violent war which killed thousands of Armenians and Azerbaijanis.