Azerbaijani forces seriously injure Armenian soldier along border

The incident comes about a week after Armenia and Azerbaijan both claimed that the other country had fired toward the border.

 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)

Azerbaijani forces fired at Armenian forces along the southeastern part of the border between the two countries on Saturday morning, injuring one Armenian soldier, according to the Armenian Defense Ministry.

The Azerbaijani forces used a number of different firearms, including sniper rifles, according to the report. The injured soldier was seriously injured in the incident and the Armenian forces responded with unspecified "retaliatory actions."

This did not happen in a vacuum

The incident comes about a week after Armenia and Azerbaijan both claimed that the other country had fired toward the border.

Last week, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed 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.

A day later, 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."

Ethnic Armenian soldiers gather at their fighting positions near the village of Taghavard in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, January 11, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/ARTEM MIKRYUKOV)Ethnic Armenian soldiers gather at their fighting positions near the village of Taghavard in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, January 11, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/ARTEM MIKRYUKOV)

The clashes came shortly before Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met in Brussels to continue peace talks between the two countries.

Background 

Earlier this month, 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.

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

In 2020, a war broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and nearby areas, ending just over a month later 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.