Yerevan says Armenia will “take the necessary and adequate steps to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity and to ensure the security of its population.”
A contract officer of the Armenia’s Armed Forces was killed after Azerbaijani forces, which have breached Armenia’s sovereign border, opened fire in the Verin Shorzha border section of the Gegharkunik Province, Armenia’s Defense Ministry reported.
The soldier was identified as Junior Sergeant Gevorg Yurayi Khurshudyan, who received a gunshot wound in the abdomen. He was taken to Gegharkunik garrison hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The defense ministry reports that at around 2:20 p.m. local time Azerbaijani forces began discharging automatic weapons aimed at Armenian forces stationed in the area.
A criminal case has been initiated against Azerbaijan whose armed forces illegally crossed the Armenian border, violating the territorial integrity of the country and killing a servicemen of the Armed Forces of Armenia, Gor Abrahamyan, advisor to Armenia’s Prosecutor General said in a Facebook post.
Abrahamyan said that incident was organized by the commanders of Azerbaijani forces who “made calls for violence against the Armenian servicemen on duty in that area with an intent to violate the territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia, demanding them to leave that area without resistance.”
Khurshudyan was the son of an Yura Khurshudyan who is a veteran member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation “Smbat Tatosyan” chapter of the Ararat district. The soldier had two children.
The ARF Supreme Council of Armenia published a statement extending its condolences to Yura Khurshudyan and “his family, relatives, fellow servicemen and all Armenians.”
In a statement, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry condemned the attack, calling it a violation of international legal norms.
“Despite calls from the international community, Azerbaijan refuses to withdraw its armed forces from the sovereign territory of Armenia, by further escalating the situation and undermining regional security and stability. The hostilities carried out by Azerbaijan in the sovereign territory of Armenia give the right to the Republic of Armenia to take the necessary and adequate steps to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity and to ensure the security of its population,” said the statement.
“It must be noted that Azerbaijan is attempting to cover up these illegal military activities in the territory of Armenia by disseminating disinformation. The Armenian side is ready to engage in an international investigation to uncover the circumstances of this fatal incident,” said the foreign ministry.
Armenia’s Acting Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan on Tuesday met with the ambassadors of CSTO member states–Russia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kazakstan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The main item of discussion was the killing of the Armenian solider by Azerbaijani forces in Armenia’s sovereign territory, as well as Azerbaijan’s breach of Armenia’s borders.
Aivazyan told the ambassadors that by not withdrawing its forces from Armenia, Azerbaijani is infringing on the legal rights of CSTO member-states.
The foreign minister emphasized that an inadequate response to Baku’s deadly actions, particularly by the CSTO and CSTO member states, will lead to further escalation of situation, which can have the worst possible impact on the regional security and stability.
President Armen Sarkissian called on the international community to take tough measures and condemn Azerbaijan’s provocations.
“Today, after the prolonged illegal encroachment on the borders and territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia, Azerbaijan turned to a new provocation to escalate the border situation,” said the statement, which referenced the incident that resulted in Khurshudyan’s death.
“I call on relevant state bodies to make all efforts and take the toughest measures against the threats to the territorial integrity of Armenia and border violations,” added Sarisskian.
“In condemning Azerbaijan’s provocations and efforts to further escalate the situation, we call on the international community and all interested states to voice heightened intolerance and take decisive measures,” added the statement.