The Armenian military pledged to retaliate strongly after three Armenian civilians were killed and two others wounded on Thursday when their border villages came under fire from nearby Azerbaijani army positions.
Armenia’s defence ministry confirmed the information and, in a statement, called on the Azeri side “to refrain from any steps which are aimed at escalation of the situation”.
Armenia has financially backed the mountainous region for more than two decades, but Azerbaijan often threatens to take back the territory by force, something Armenia, an ally of Russia’s, says it will not stand for. “We state again that the responsibility for casualties and devastation in the enemy side falls on the opposite side”.
The ministry further added that over the past 24 hours, Armenian military 92 times broke ceasefire on various parts of the contact line of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops.
According to RFE/RL Armenian Service, the village of Barekamavan was also shelled.
An Armenian serviceman guards an area close to the country’s border with Azerbaijan on February 16, 2015.
Clashes along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and around Nagorno-Karabakh, which lies inside Azerbaijan but is controlled by majority ethnic Armenians, have stoked fears of a wider conflict breaking out in the South Caucasus, which is crossed by oil and gas pipelines.
Тalks brokered by OSCE Minsk Group are being held over peaceful settlement of the conflict. Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council’s four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.