STEPANAKERT, TAVUSH, Armenia—Overnight shelling by Azerbaijani forces claimed the lives two soldiers in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and injured two in the southern border of Armenia and Azerbaijan, the defense ministries of both republics confirmed Friday. On Wednesday, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic marked the 24th anniversary of Artsakh’s independence.
Around 5 p.m. local time Friday, two soldiers of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Armed Forces were killed as a result of attack by Azerbaijani border units, reported the Artsakh Defense Ministry press office.
“The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Ministry shares the loss and expresses condolences to the families, relatives and fellow officers of the martyred soldiers,” announced the defense ministry press service.
Earlier this week, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Ministry announced that Azerbaijan was using heavy artillery in its escalating attacks against Armenian targets.
The Azerbaijani side continued to intensively violate the ceasefire regime on September 1-2, the NKR Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
The ministry identified these weapons as 60 and 82 mm mortars, RPG-7 and HAN-17 grenade launchers, as well as Turkish-made TP-107 reactive rocket launchers, saying that Azerbaijan was attempting to conceal the use of such heavy artillery.
The ministry published photos of the weapons’ fragments to demonstrate the increasing hostility from Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile, on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, attack by the Azerbaijani army injured two as shelling of the Armenian villages of Nerkin Karmiraghbyur, Vazashen and several others continued Thursday night/
An Armenian civilian and a contract serviceman were reported injured. Spokesman for the Ministry of Defense Artsrun Hovhannisyan confirmed the news to Razm.info. He said both have been hospitalized. The wounds are not life-threatening.
The shelling of the border villages in Armenia with heavy rocket launchers from Azerbaijan began earlier in the week and have continued every day, causing destruction of personal property and loss of life.
Armenian soldier Hayk Tevoyan, born in 1975, died as a result of shooting at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Hovhannisyan told reporters Wednesday.
“The enemy actively fired all along the Tavush section of the border until midnight. The Azerbaijani side used artillery weapons of different caliber, including large-caliber machine guns and sniper rifles, 60 and 80mm mortars. Two civilians were injured,” he said.
Sources in Tavush reported heavy shelling on Wednesday evening in the Aygepar village, which was the site similar attacks on Tuesday.
Hovhannisyan also said that the Azerbaijani side incurred losses as a result of tensions over the past two days.
On Tuesday night, as the 24th anniversary of Karabakh’s independence celebrations were winding down in and around Artsakh, nearby on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border another reality was taking shape with Azerbaijani forces launching long-range rocket attacks on a number border villages in the Tavush region early Wednesday.
In a statement published in Armenpress late Tuesday, Hohvannisyan said the situation was tense along the Armenia-Azerbaijan bombing as heaving shelling from Azerbaijani positions continue.
“I can say that gunfire is continuing in the direction of border villages in Tavush region. The enemy is using heavy artillery and I would categorize the situation as very serious, tense. Armenia’s military forces are responding to the adversary’s gunfire,” said Hovhannisyan as reported by Armenpress.
This latest incidents follow similar attacks on Tuesday in the villages of Chinari and Aygepar villages again in the Tavush region, where two people were wounded.
In a press statement Tuesday, Hovhannisyan identified the victims as Vladimir Aram Gevorgyan, 19, and Gor Hambardzum Gevorgyan, 22.
Similar attacks took place Tuesday morning in the villages of Baghanis and Vokevan, cutting short the traditional first day of school.
The mayor of Baghanis, Narek Sahakyan told CivilNet that although the night passed in relative calm, at around 10-11:00 a.m. on September 1, Azerbaijani forces began firing in the direction of the village just as festivities for the first day of school were underway.
The children were given their homework and quickly dismissed, according to Sahakyan. Later in the afternoon, gunfire erupted yet again.
Andrzej Kasprzyk, the top official from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitoring the ceasefire regime in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, was reported to express concern at the escalation when he met with Armenia’ First Deputy Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan in Yerevan on Wednesday evening. Kasprzyk met with Bako Sahakian, the Karabakh president, in Stepanakert on Thursday.