Armenia Accuses Azerbaijan Of Launching Fresh Attack On Border


The Armenian military has accused Azerbaijani forces of again attacking one of its positions at a section of the border where deadly fighting raged last week.

Defense Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanian said late on July 21 that an Azerbaijani commando unit suffered heavy losses while being repelled by Armenian troops deployed in the Tavush region. Some of the unit's soldiers were "left trapped" as a result of the failed incursion, she said, without elaborating.

"The Armenian side suffered no casualties," Stepanian wrote on Facebook.

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry denied the claim.

"There were no new attacks, let alone casualties, from our side," ministry spokesman Vagif Dargahli said. "The Armenian report is yet another disinformation."

Dargahli said earlier in the day that the situation on the border between Tavush and the Tovuz district in western Azerbaijan remained "tense but stable."

Fighting between the neighboring countries had calmed recently after a flare-up of violence on July 12 that lasted several days.

The Armenian military said on Twitter that the fresh fighting broke out at 10:30 p.m. on July 21, when Azerbaijani special forces attempted an attack on an outpost known as Anvakh but "failed and fled with losses."

After fighting at the volatile border section broke out on July 12, each side accused the other of trying to seize its frontline positions in the mountainous area. At least 12 Azerbaijani soldiers, including a general, and four Armenian servicemen died before the clashes involving artillery fire and drone attacks largely stopped on July 16.

According to Stepanian, Azerbaijani special forces targeted late in the evening the same hilltop post of the Armenian Army that they had unsuccessfully stormed early on July 16.

"Although there was no gunfire as of 12:47 a.m., I must nonetheless note that the leadership of the Azerbaijani armed forces is not in control of the situation," the Armenian official wrote in another Facebook post early on July 22.

Russia has expressed concern over the recent escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which maintain deep hostilities in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The international community has expressed serious concern over the worst escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in years.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a war over the region in the late 1980s and early 1990s as they transitioned into independent countries amid the dissolution of the Soviet Union. About 30,000 people were killed.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but is controlled by Armenian separatists.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe last week issued a statement urging the sides to resume peace talks. Both Washington and Moscow called on the countries to halt the violence immediately.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Armenian Service and dpa