Russia Deploys Border Patrols on Segment of Tavush Border
Armenia’s newly-appointed defense minister, Arshak Karapetyan, on Thursday gave an order to Armenia’s Armed Forces to “shoot and destroy” any Azerbaijani soldier who attempts to cross Armenia’s border.
Armenian media reports, as well as certain social media posts suggest that Karapetyan’s order was to use “any means” to destroy Azerbaijani forces who attempt to enter Armenia’s territory.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry also reported that Russia has deployed border guards in Armenia’s Tavush region, specifically near the village of Voskepar, as what the ministry said was part of the framework on “Russian-Armenian cooperation.”
Karapetyan also met with the commander of the Russian Peacekeeping Forces in Artsakh Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov. The Defense Ministry said the two discussed issues related to Russia’s peacekeeping mission, as well as the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
Karapetyan chaired a session the Defense Ministry Board Thursday, during which the almost three-month old border standoff with Azerbaijan was discussed.
The issue to prevent any further breach of Armenia’s sovereign borders was discussed during the meeting, according to the defense ministry, presumably as a prelude to the “shoot and destroy order.”
Karapetyan ordered all relevant bodies to speed up military reforms and resolve existing issues quickly.
This comes as Azerbaijani efforts to breach Armenia’s airspace once again was thwarted when Armenia’s air defense forces shot down an Azerbaijani drone at 11 a.m. local time in the Gegharkunik Province on Wednesday.
Russia, meanwhile, expressed serious concern over the frequent armed incidents on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
“I can say that Russia is seriously concerned over the armed incidents in specific sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border that have become quite frequent in the recent period. It is particularly alarming given the fact that those incidents have caused human casualties from both sides,’’ said Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Aleksandr Bikantov during a press briefing Thursday, according to the TASS news agency.
“To this end, we call on all sides to refrain from further actions that can aggravate the situation,’’ Biktanov said, emphasizing Moscow’s position that all issues be resolved “through peaceful political-diplomatic means.”
He also said Russia is ready to actively contribute to the settlement of the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, including through de-escalation of the tensions, joint border demarcation and delimitation works.
‘’These efforts, together with the unblocking of economic and transport communications in the region, as well as the promotion of inter-society dialogue, will contribute to making the South Caucasus a zone of stability, security and prosperity, according to the statements of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia on November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021,’’ added Bikantov.