Azerbaijani forces on Tuesday launched an attack on Armenia’s Gegharkunik Province, killing two soldiers of Armenia’s Armed Forces and injuring three.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that Private Arthur Mkhitaryan (born 2002) and Junior Sergeant Rudik Gharibyan (born 2002) were killed when Azerbaijani forces shot at Armenian positions using artillery and drones.
The attacks began at around 3:15 p.m. local time when Azerbaijani forces opened fire at Armenian military positions near the Verin Shorzha village in the Gegharkunik Province. One soldier was wounded with “moderately severe” injuries, according to Armenia’s Defense Ministry.
Azerbaijani forces resumed their attacks at 5:30 p.m. local time, with Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan reporting that the military units near Verin Shorzha and Nerkin Shorzha villages were targeted. Mkhitaryan and Gharibyan were killed during this attack, while two other soldiers sustained non life threatening injuries, according to the defense ministry.
The cross-border shooting continued well after 6:30 p.m. local time.
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned what it called in a statement “the gross violation of the ceasefire by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces.”
“The provocation of the units of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces is another manifestation of the continuous encroachments of Azerbaijan on the territorial integrity of Armenia, which began on May 12, 2021 with the intrusion into the sovereign territory and continued with regular armed attacks,” the Foreign Ministry statement said.
“The Republic of Armenia draws the attention of the international community to the fact that official Baku, by continuing its encroachments on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia, violates the basic principles of international law, including the UN Charter, and undermines regional security,” the statement emphasized.
The foreign ministry said that Armenia “has repeatedly stated that one of the ways to avoid further aggravation of the situation may be the withdrawal of troops and the launch of an international monitoring mechanism along the border.” It also called on Azerbaijani authorities to “refrain from provocative actions, to fulfill their commitment to establish stability in the region assumed after the meetings in Sochi and Brussels.”
During a phone conversation, Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan briefed U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried about Azerbaijan’s latest ceasefire violation.
The call, which was initiated by Donfried, also focused on the Karabakh conflict settlement through the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, the release of all prisoners of war, as well as efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey and the situation in Kazakhstan.
“The Azerbaijani authorities are acting in clear violation of international rules,” said Tatoyan, the Human Rights Defender. “They are responsible for crimes committed: killing 2 Armenian servicemen in Gegharkunik today, for violating their right to life, for harming the health of wounded servicemen, as well as for disrupting the security of the civilian population and aggression against people.”