By Mark Dovich
A firefight broke out between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops near the Armenian border village of Tegh Tuesday afternoon local time, leaving a number of soldiers on both sides dead and marking a major escalation in hostilities.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement that Azerbaijani units opened fire at Armenian servicemen near Tegh, prompting the Armenian side to take “retaliatory actions.” The ministry added that “the Armenian side has (soldiers) killed and wounded,” but did not give figures.
In a series of posts, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry confirmed that a shoot-out took place near Tegh Tuesday afternoon. The ministry also reported an unspecified number of servicemen “martyred and wounded.”
The clash had “significantly decreased” in intensity by 7 p.m. local time, Armenia’s Defense Ministry said in a follow-up message.
Videos circulating on social media appear to show heavy gunfire near Tegh. CivilNet has not been able to independently verify the footage.
Tegh is the final Armenian village on the road to Nagorno-Karabakh, which self-styled Azerbaijani environmental activists have been blockading since last December, causing severe shortages of food, medicine, energy, and other essentials throughout Nagorno-Karabakh.
Late last month, Armenia’s National Security Service said Azerbaijani troops had advanced 100-300 meters into Armenia at five points along the two countries’ border. That included the area around Tegh, Armenian officials later specified.
UPDATE (8:22 p.m.): Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry reports three Azerbaijani soldiers killed.
UPDATE (8:34 p.m.): Armenia’s Defense Ministry reports four Armenian soldiers killed and six others wounded.
This news story refers to breaking developments. Updates to come.