Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of breaking a fragile truce that led to the worst fighting between the two former Soviet states since 2020 ending last week.
In statements released by their defense ministries on Friday morning, Baku and Yerevan both accused the other of opening fire first in renewed clashes along their shared border during the night.
After two days of clashes that left nearly 200 soldiers dead early last week, the two sides agreed to a Russia-brokered ceasefire to end hostilities, although the border situation remains tense.
“On September 23, at 07:40 (03:40 GMT), units of the Azerbaijani armed forces again violated the ceasefire regime by firing from different positions at combat positions. of Armenia is located in the eastern region of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border,” Armenia’s Defense Ministry said in a Facebook post on Friday.
Armenia added, “The enemy’s fire was extinguished by retaliatory actions”.
Immediately after Armenia’s statement, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan issued a response, saying that Armenia opened fire first.
Baku said the Armenian armed forces opened fire on three different areas of the common border, “continuous shelling positions of the Azerbaijani armed forces with mixed small-arms” for more than nine years. hours start at 11:45pm (19:45 GMT) on Thursday night.
In a statement published on the messaging app Telegram, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry also said it had taken “proportionate retaliatory measures”.
‘Atrocities are indescribable’
On Thursday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan used his speech to the United Nations to accuse Azerbaijan of “indescribable atrocities” in the most recent clashes between the two rivals, including the mutilation of dead soldiers.
He told the United Nations General Assembly: “There is evidence of torture, mutilation of captured or dead service members, numerous cases of extrajudicial killings and ill-treatment of prisoners of war. Armenian war, as well as the humiliating treatment of bodies.
“The corpses of Armenian female soldiers were mutilated, and then proudly videotaped about the exceptional cruelty of Azerbaijani servicemen.”
As Pashinyan spoke, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, who will speak before the global body this weekend, watched nonchalantly.
Pashinyan continued: “There is no doubt that the commission of such unfathomable atrocities is a direct result of a decades-long policy of sowing anti-Armenian hatred and hostility in the society. Azerbaijani association of political leaders”.
He also accused Azerbaijan of shelling civilian facilities and infrastructure deep inside its territory, displacing more than 7,600 people, as well as leaving three civilians dead and two missing. .
“This is not a border clash. It was a direct, undeniable attack on Armenia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
The speech came just days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged peace between the two sides during a meeting where he hosted top diplomats from both countries.
Fighting between neighbors broke out earlier this month in clashes that left nearly 200 soldiers dead – the bloodiest confrontation since the six-week war between the two former Soviet states in 2020.
The skirmishes are linked to the decades-long hostility for control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but is until 2020 largely controlled by the ethnic Armenian majority. .
Armenia says Azerbaijan has attacked its territory and seized settlements within its borders, outside the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Azerbaijan said it was responding to “provocative actions” by Armenia.
Russia is a military ally of Armenia although it also tries to maintain friendly relations with Azerbaijan and has resisted Yerevan’s call to activate the mutual self-defense clause. Baku is supported militarily, financially and politically by Turkey.