Azerbaijan emphasizes presence of Armenian forces in Artsakh in statement about today’s attacks

In a statement referring to today’s escalation on Armenia’s eastern border, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry denied the attack and emphasized the presence of the Armenian Defense Army in Artsakh (Karabakh).

“The presence of personnel and equipment of the Armenian armed forces in Karabakh, which is an economic zone of Azerbaijan, continues to this day. The Azerbaijani army, in response to the provocation of Armenia, implements local countermeasures and neutralizes the firing points,” the statement read.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry confirmed that its army has suffered casualties in the fighting that began Tuesday morning right after 12am, when Azerbaijani forces began shelling villages and towns in Armenia’s southeast. Armenian authorities said major towns including Sotk, Vardenis, Goris, and Kapan are among those being attacked.

CivilNet’s correspondents, Armine Simonyan and Levon Hakobyan, in the southern Armenian town of Goris, said they began hearing sounds of artillery shelling around 12:30 am Tuesday morning (late Monday night).

The U.S. State Department updated its Armenia travel advisory on Monday, warning its citizens not to travel to Nagorno Karabakh and surrounding areas “due to recent hostilities.”

Armenia’s National Security Council said it will appeal to both the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the United Nations Security Council.

As fighting continued to intensify along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, Armenian authorities reported that Azerbaijani units were attempting to advance positions. Meanwhile, Artsakh authorities reported that the Line of Contact between Armenia and Azerbaijan remains quiet.

The 44-day Karabakh War changed the situation on the ground not only in Artsakh, but also on the entire border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This is especially true in Armenia’s southernmost Syunik Province, which since the war has a new border with Azerbaijan.

While before the war, there was roughly 120 kilometers between Armenia and Azerbaijan, today, the Azerbaijani city of Zangelan is only 10-12 kilometers away from southeastern villages.

With Azerbaijan so close, residents in the region are facing increasing security challenges on the border and on the roads.

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