Tensions on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and in the Karabakh (Garabagh) region of Azerbaijan have been increasing over the last few days due to regular armed ceasefire violations by the Armenian military and illegal Armenian armed formations.
According to the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan, the positions of the Azerbaijani army have been targeted more than 30 times since the beginning of March.
“Starting from the afternoon of March 8 to the morning of March 9, members of the illegal Armenian armed detachments in the territory of Azerbaijan, where the Russian peacekeepers are temporarily stationed, using various caliber weapons periodically subjected to fire the positions of the Azerbaijan Army in Khojaly and Goranboy regions,” the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The ministry’s other statement reads that on March 7, members of the illegal Armenian armed detachment in the territory of Azerbaijan, where the Russian peacekeepers are temporarily stationed, subjected to fire the positions of the Azerbaijan Army in the direction of the Papravend settlement of the Aghdam region using various caliber weapons. Later, on March 8, the Armenian military targeted the Azerbaijan positions in the direction of the Kilid settlement of Ordubad region of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic on the state border.
On March 7, the Goranboy, Tartar, Aghdam, and Khojaly districts of Azerbaijan were shelled at least 23 times by the illegal Armenian armed gangs. In addition, the Armenian armed forces fired on the positions of the Azerbaijan Army in the direction of Damirchidam settlement of Kalbajar region from the positions of the state border located in Zarkand settlement of Basarkechar region.
The illegal Armenian formations also targeted the Azerbaijani army positions in Aghdam and Goranboy on March 5 and 6, respectively. On March 2, the Armenian armed forces opened fire at positions of the Azerbaijani army in the Tovuz district on the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border.
Armenia and Azerbaijan had been locked in a decades-old armed conflict over the latter’s Karabakh (Garabagh) region. Following the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991, Armenia launched full-blown military aggression against Azerbaijan, marking the longest and deadliest war in the South Caucasus region. The bloody war ended with a ceasefire in 1994, which saw Armenia forcibly occupying 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories. Over 30,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, 3,890 went missing, and one million others were expelled from those lands in a brutal ethnic cleansing policy conducted by Armenia.
On September 27, 2020, the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict took a violent turn when Armenia’s forces deployed in the occupied Azerbaijani lands shelled military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. During the counter-attack operations that lasted 44 days, Azerbaijani forces liberated over 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha, from nearly 30-year-long illegal Armenian occupation. The war ended with signing a tripartite statement by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia on November 10, 2020. Under the agreement, Armenia also returned the occupied Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan.
The document ordered the complete withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the Karabakh region and the deployment of the Russian peacekeepers to the area. Armenia’s authorities, however, have stalled in implementing the terms of the agreement.
There are still the remnants of the armed Armenian separatists and illegal formations of the Armenian forces in certain territories of the Karabakh region, where the Russian peacekeepers are temporarily stationed. The illegal formations have resorted to armed provocations against the Azerbaijani military, including shelling the army positions, terror activities, and infiltration attempts. In addition, they have carried out engineering and fortification work, trying to build new positions, digging trenches, and creating a defensive zone.
Since the end of the war in November 2020, dozens of Armenian servicemen have been detained while trying to infiltrate the Azerbaijani border in various directions of the Karabakh region.
The Armenian armed forces also resorted to multiple infiltration and sabotage attempts on the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border. The largest post-war flare-up of tensions on the border occurred on November 16, 2021, when the Armenian troops launched a massive attack to capture the Azerbaijani positions in the Kalbajar and Lachin districts. The Azerbaijani forces thwarted the offensive that claimed the lives of seven servicemen of the armed forces of Azerbaijan and wounded two others.