Armenia-Azerbaijan: Skirmishes reported on border

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev are set to meet to continue peace talks on Sunday as tensions remain at a high between the two countries.

 An Azeri soldier and police officer talk as they stand guard at the Kalbajar district, Azerbaijan, December 21, 2020 (photo credit: AZIZ KARIMOV/REUTERS)
An Azeri soldier and police officer talk as they stand guard at the Kalbajar district, Azerbaijan, December 21, 2020
(photo credit: AZIZ KARIMOV/REUTERS)

Armenia and Azerbaijan both fired toward the border between the two countries, both countries claimed over the weekend. 

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that on Friday evening Armenian armed forces fired on Azerbaijani forces in the Kalbajar District, adding that Azerbaijani forces took "adequate retaliatory measures."

The Armenian Defense Ministry denied the claims, calling it misinformation.

On Saturday, the Armenian Defense Ministry claimed that Azerbaijani forces fired on Armenian forces near the border, injuring an Armenian soldier. The Armenian forces carried out "retaliatory actions."

The clashes come as Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev are set to meet in Brussels to continue peace talks on Sunday.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev attend a news conference following their trilateral meeting in Sochi, Russia November 26, 2021. (credit: SPUTNIK/MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS)Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev attend a news conference following their trilateral meeting in Sochi, Russia November 26, 2021. (credit: SPUTNIK/MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/KREMLIN VIA REUTERS)

Two weeks ago, Armenia's Defense Ministry claimed that Azerbaijani troops had fired at Armenian military positions and at the Sotk gold mine in eastern Armenia, injuring one miner. Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry denied the report, calling it "false and disinformation."

Earlier that week, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that Armenian forces fired at Azerbaijani forces in the village of Zeylik, around 30 kilometers from the city of Ganga and nearly 40 kilometers from the border, adding that "adequate response measures" were taken by Azerbaijani forces. The Armenian Defense Ministry called the claim "misinformation."

A week before that incident, Azerbaijan's State Border Service claimed that a "sabotage group" of the Armenian Armed Forces attempted to infiltrate Azerbaijan and warned that it would take "more serious measures" if the incident was repeated.

In April, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Azerbaijani forces had repeatedly violated the ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the Republic of Artsakh, a de facto republic internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. In 2020, the area where the republic is situated was recaptured by Azerbaijan.

In March, Azerbaijani forces crossed the line of contact near the village of Parukh in the Republic of Artsakh, entering the village of Khramort. A day later, an Azerbaijani Bayraktar TB2 drone carried out strikes against forces belonging to Artsakh, killing three Armenian soldiers.

The Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement at the time saying that Azerbaijan had violated the ceasefire reached at the end of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war by crossing the line of contact, sparking outrage from Azerbaijani officials.

On April 6, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to hold peace talks to address tensions over the Nagorno-Karabakh area.

In 2020, a slightly more than month-long war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and nearby areas, ending with a new line of contact drawn and Russian peacekeepers deployed along the line. Sporadic clashes have been reported along the line since the war.