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Armenia Escalates Tensions on Border, Wounding Three Azerbaijani Servicemen

By Timucin Turksoy September 2, 2023

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Three servicemen of the Azerbaijani army were wounded in the wake of the border clashes on September 1, 2023 / Aleksey Kudenko / Sputnik

Tensions along the Azerbaijan-Armenia border escalated once again on Friday due to provocation by the latter in the direction of Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar district.

According to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, the Armenian military deployed weaponry of various calibers, mortars, artillery, and attack drones to target the positions of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan in Kalbajar. Also, Armenia amassed additional military equipment and personnel along the border, as reported by the ministry.

As a result of the clashes, three Azerbaijani servicemen were wounded. They received initial medical assistance on the ground before being transferred to military medical facilities.

Baku accused Yerevan of once again stoking tensions in the region, pledging to take all necessary measures to prevent Armenian provocations. The Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan issued a statement on Friday, asserting that Armenia was attempting to divert attention from its internal political crisis through such provocations.

“These actions of Armenia for distracting from the tense political and social situation in the country, as well as to mislead the international community must be rejected and condemned in a serious manner,” the ministry noted.

The hostilities on the border occurred shortly after Azerbaijan’s initiative to send food supplies to the Armenian minority in the Karabakh (Garabagh) region. On August 29, the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society dispatched 40 tons of flour products in two trucks from Baku to the Aghdam district, destined to meet the needs of Armenian-origin residents in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region.

The cargo reached Aghdam on the same day but was unable to proceed to its final destination, the city of Khankendi, due to the refusal of Armenian residents. On Wednesday, they blocked the road from Aghdam to Khankendi, staging a protest and obstructing the movement of the aid convoy.

Reports from Aghdam confirmed that representatives of the Azerbaijan Red Crescent Society held talks with the temporary Russian peacekeeping mission in the Karabakh region to resolve the situation.

Approximately 25,000 Armenians reside in certain parts of the Karabakh region, under the supervision of a temporary Russian peacekeeping mission. Following the war, the Azerbaijani government expressed its readiness to reintegrate Armenian residents into Azerbaijani society in line with the Constitution and laws of Azerbaijan.

On March 1, Azerbaijani officials met with representatives of Armenians residing in the Karabakh region, engaging in preliminary discussions regarding their reintegration into Azerbaijani society. In late March, Azerbaijani authorities extended an invitation to the representatives of Karabakh Armenians for a second meeting.

However, a faction of separatists in the Karabakh region attempted to sabotage the process, seeking a self-proclaimed status for the region’s Armenian residents and demanding independence from Azerbaijan.