Armenia-Azerbaijan border calms after seven killed in firefight

Armenia-Azerbaijan border calms after seven killed in firefight
A+ A-
The Armenia-Azerbaijan border has calmed down after a firefight near the Armenian border village of Tegh killed at least four Armenian and three Azerbaijani soldiers on Tuesday afternoon.

Relative calm returned to the Armenia-Azerbaijan border by Wednesday morning, according to Armenia’s Defense Ministry, after a firefight near the Armenian border village of Tegh on Tuesday afternoon left at least four Armenian soldiers and three Azerbaijani soldiers dead, escalating tensions between the two sides.

According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, there were no significant ceasefire violations by the Azerbaijani side during the night, and as of 8:00 a.m. the situation on the front line remained relatively stable.

On Tuesday afternoon, the defense ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan reported that a deadly firefight had broken out near Tegh, the last Armenian village on the road to Nagorno-Karabakh, which self-proclaimed Azerbaijani environmental activists have blocked since last December.

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan confirmed the firefight, with both sides reporting casualties. Armenia reported four soldiers killed and six wounded, while Azerbaijan reported three soldiers killed and four wounded. The wounded soldiers were transported for medical treatment, and some of them are in critical condition.

Videos that appear to show heavy exchanges of fire between the two sides were geolocated by Nagorno Karabakh Observer, an independent Twitter account, in an area along the border less than two kilometers from Tegh. However, the authenticity of the footage has not been independently verified.

Last month, the Armenian National Security Service had reported that Azerbaijani troops had advanced 100 to 300 meters into Armenia at several points along the border, including in the Tegh area. Following the latest firefight, Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan cut short an official trip to Brussels and returned to Armenia, according to a ministry spokesperson.

Nagorno-Karabakh has been at the center of two wars waged by Azerbaijan against Azerbaijan in the more than 30 years since the independence of the two former Soviet states.

Armenian forces took control of Karabakh in a war that gripped the region in the early 1990s after the collapse of Soviet rule. Azerbaijan recaptured large parts of the territory in a six-week conflict in 2020 that ended with a cease-fire and the deployment of Russian peacekeepers, who remain in the region.