Escalation in the border region?
Armenia reports deadly attack in Azerbaijan
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After Azerbaijan’s major offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh, there is increasing concern that Azerbaijani armed forces could also attack Armenia itself. Now the Ministry of Defense in Yerevan reports a death after shelling in the border region. Baku is against it.
Two weeks after Azerbaijan’s military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia has accused the neighboring country of carrying out a deadly attack on the border between the Caucasus states. Azerbaijani forces opened fire on an Armenian army vehicle, the Defense Ministry in Yerevan said on Telegram. One military member was killed and two others were injured on the Armenian side. Baku denies the allegations.
According to the ministry, the incident occurred near the town of Kut in the east of the country. Accordingly, the vehicle was transporting food for Armenian border guards.
Azerbaijan launched a large-scale military offensive in the Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh on September 19. After their surrender just one day later, the pro-Armenian forces had to accept the dissolution of their self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan has since reported numerous detentions of former pro-Armenian politicians and public officials. Baku accuses them, among other things, of “terrorism.”
Last refugee bus leaves Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan under international law, but so far the majority of ethnic Armenians have lived there. Almost all of the region’s former 120,000 Armenian residents have now fled to Armenia for fear of reprisals from Azerbaijan. In the evening the last refugee bus left the area. Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of “ethnic cleansing.”
The Azerbaijani leadership, on the other hand, once again emphasized that there was no reason to flee and that people would be integrated into life according to the country’s laws. Unlike Armenia, the South Caucasus Republic of Azerbaijan is an authoritarian country without media freedom or democratically elected leadership and is internationally criticized for human rights violations.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at an event that the country has long been characterized by a multi-ethnic and religious society. “We live like a family,” he said, according to Azerbaijani media. “Now is the time to build peace in the Caucasus. Our agenda is peace in the region, cooperation and mutual benefit,” he said in the capital Baku. Aliyev had previously announced the settlement of tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Moscow reports sniper fire
Recently, fears had been raised that Azerbaijan could also attack Armenia itself. “We hear a lot of aggressiveness, threats and hate speech from Baku, not only against Nagorno-Karabakh, but also against the Republic of Armenia,” Armenian Ambassador to Germany Viktor Yengibayran said last week.
Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Russian and Azerbaijani forces were fired upon by snipers during a “joint patrol” in Nagorno-Karabakh. A joint investigation into the incident has been launched.