Armenia reports second ceasefire violation by Azerbaijan in two days

By Mark Dovich

Armenia’s Defense Ministry reported a second ceasefire violation by Azerbaijani troops Wednesday evening, leaving one person injured and marking Azerbaijan’s second alleged violation in the past two days.

“On September 21, at around 8 p.m., units of Azerbaijan’s armed forces opened fire on Armenian positions in the eastern part of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border using mortars and large-caliber firearms,” Armenia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.

“The Armenian side has one wounded. As of 9:30 p.m., the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border is stable, and there are no shots fired,” it added.

Aram Torosyan, a ministry spokesperson, wrote on Facebook that “the serviceman’s injuries are not life threatening.”

The evening prior, Armenia’s Defense Ministry reported that “units of Azerbaijan’s armed forces violated the ceasefire regime by using small arms in the eastern direction of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border,” adding that, “as of 10:30 p.m., the situation on the border is stable, and there are no shots fired.”

The ministry did not announce any injuries in Tuesday evening’s alleged violation, but Hetq, a prominent and well-regarded Armenian news site, reported the shoot-out left one person wounded, citing the mayor of Nerkin Hand, a border village in Armenia’s southernmost Syunik region.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry has yet to comment publicly on that reporting.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday it “categorically denies” violating the ceasefire, according to the official Azertac news agency.

Still, it is the first time either side has reported a violation since a fragile ceasefire came into effect last Wednesday that ended two days of fierce fighting in parts of eastern and southern Armenia. The United States played a key role in brokering the ceasefire, Armenian officials have suggested.

Azerbaijan launched unprecedented attacks in Armenia proper last Tuesday, shelling three dozen municipalities, including major population centers, marking a major escalation in hostilities.

Two days of heavy clashes last week left nearly 300 people killed or missing and almost 600 injured, including civilians, according to official figures from both sides. Armenia has also reported 20 soldiers taken by Azerbaijan as prisoners of war.

The combined losses make last week the bloodiest in the region, by far, since the outbreak of the war in and around Karabakh nearly two years ago․

The ceasefire left Azerbaijani forces in control of roughly 50 square kilometers of territory within Armenia, according to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. That is an area equal to more than 9,300 American football fields.