Border Shootout - Tensions Between Azerbaijan and Armenia Erupt in Violence
The border between Azerbaijan proper and Armenia, pictured here near Qubadli, July 3, 2021, has maintained a certain level of tension since the 2nd Karabakh War, but fighting at the border of the Turkish-protected Azerbaijani exclave Nakhchivan could potentially erupt into something entirely different. Image: TASS
Tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia were raised to a high level again today, with parties opening fire at each other's positions on Wednesday on the border between the countries, near the Sadarak region of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (an exclave of Azerbaijan to the west of Armenia).
As a result of the shooting, an Azerbaijani serviceman has been wounded, and an Armenian soldier was killed.
The violence broke out when Armenian forces tried to prevent Azerbaijan from constructing fortifications at the border, reportedly attempting to defend itself from future Armenian incursions. As a result of the shooting, an Azerbaijani serviceman has been wounded, and an Armenian soldier was killed. Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry released a statement on the situation, stating their military "units control the operational situation."
In stark but familiar contrast, the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims that the violence which led to the death of Private Samvel Alaverdyan began when "Azerbaijani armed forces…launched a provocative advance near the Yeraskh settlement of Armenia." They stated that "Baku is trying to create new sources of tension [to disrupt] regional peace and security." Baku denies this.
The ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia, brokered by Russia in 2020, culminated in the return of vast Armenian-occupied territory to Azerbaijan. Baku has been forthcoming that it considers the conflict over, is focused on moving forward, and is ready to work with Yerevan on several issues, including border demarcation and a peace treaty.
Baku has been forthcoming that it considers the conflict over, is focused on moving forward, and is ready to work with Yerevan on several issues, including border demarcation and a peace treaty.
The violence on the border on Wednesday has reignited global concern as Western nations hope the situation can be defused before the regional superpowers, Russia and Turkey, become directly involved. This latest military encounter between Azerbaijan and Armenia is a step backwards for peace in the Caspian region. It is dishearteningly reminiscent of the decades-long struggle between the two embattled countries.