Armenia’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday refuted claims made by Baku, which alleged that Armenian forces had been firing at Azerbaijani forces for three days before the killing of an Armenian soldier by Azerbaijani fire in Armenia’s Gegharkunik Province on Tuesday.
Since Azerbaijan breached Armenia’s sovereign border and advanced into Armenia’s Syunik and Gegharkunik provinces beginning on May 12, tensions in border communities, especially around the Sev Lidj (Black Lake) area have heightened, resulting in an attack Tuesday by Azerbaijani forces, as a result of which Junior Sergeant Gevorg Yurayi Khurshudyan was killed.
On Wednesday, Armenia’s Defense Ministry said a communique issued by the Azerbaijani defense ministry “is another miserable attempt to cover up Azerbaijan’s recent provocations against the sovereign territories of Armenia and Tuesday’s killing of Junior Sergeant Gevorg Khurshudyan.”
In its statement, Azerbaijan’s defense ministry claimed that Armenian forces had been firing on Azerbaijani positions for three days, prompting Armenia’s Defense Ministry to question the timing—and veracity—of Baku’s statement, which further alleged that Armenian forces also fired on Azerbaijani positions in Artsakh’s Shushi.
“The command of the Russian contingent carrying out a peacekeeping mission in Artsakh informed the Armenian MOD that no shots were fired in that direction,” said Armenia’s Defense Ministry.
“The MOD of Armenia reiterates that the Azerbaijani encroachments on the sovereign territories of Armenia are absolutely inadmissible, and demands Azerbaijan to leave the territory of Armenia immediately,” said the statement adding that Armenia “reserves the right to resolve the issue by any means—including the use of force.”
Speaking at the National Assembly on Wednesday, Armenia’s Acting Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutyunyan told lawmakers that Russian peacekeeping forces had also debunked Azerbaijan’s claims.
Harutyunyan said that he had contacted the command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Karabakh, and it, too, dismissed the claims that Armenian forces had fired shots toward Shushi.
“The enemy is trying to cover up its own illegal actions. We clearly know the tactics of the Azerbaijani side,” added Harutyunyan.