On May 27th, 6 Armenian soldiers were arrested and taken prisoner by Azerbaijani troops in Nagorno-Karabakh’s Kalbajar province.
Both sides blame the other for the situation. Armenia claimed that Azerbaijan encroached on its territory, and it has been doing so since May 12th. The Armenian soldiers were conducting repair work on a base in a border region, and the Azerbaijani troops surrounded them and took them captive.
“The Azerbaijani troops, who have infiltrated into Armenia’s sovereign territory since May 12, continue carrying out provocative actions in a number of directions. As a result of one of such actions, on May 27 early morning, 6 servicemen of the Armenian Armed Forces, while conducting engineering works in the territory of an Armenian military base’ protection area in the border section of Armenia’s Gegharkunik province, have been surrounded and taken captive by the Azerbaijani troops.
These provocative actions being carried out by the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan aim at further escalating the situation, which can seriously endanger the regional peace and stability.
We strongly condemn the use of force by Azerbaijan against Armenia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and state that the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears the responsibility of all actions of the Azerbaijani armed forces and their consequences. Captured Armenian servicemen must be returned immediately and unconditionally,” Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Azerbaijan’s version of events is different. According to its Ministry of Defense, the Armenian servicemen a subversive group, trying to carry out a provocation, and they had encroached into Azerbaijani territory.
“On May 27, at about 03.00, a reconnaissance-sabotage group of the Armenian armed forces attempted to enter our territory in the direction of the Yukhari Ayrim settlement of the Kalbajar region in the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border.
As a result of urgent measures, 6 enemy servicemen who tried to mine the supply routes leading to the positions of the Azerbaijan Army on the border, were surrounded, neutralized, and taken prisoner.”
According to the statement, Armenia deployed armored vehicles along the border, but Azerbaijan repelled them by pure deterrence, no shots were fired.
“In the morning [of May 27], several combat vehicles, including tanks of the Armenian armed forces, were congested near the border. As a result of the actions taken by our forces, their movement was suppressed.
Currently, the operational situation in this direction is under the control of our units.”
In Baku, the incident was called a provocative terrorist act that violates trilateral agreements. Yerevan replied that Azerbaijan’s actions are aimed at exacerbating the situation, “which could seriously undermine the regional peace.”
In both Gegharkunik region and the Syunik region, despite the peace agreement, instability persists.
The photograph above shows the first image of the arrested servicemen.
Russian military journalist Alexander Kharchenko:
“The Azerbaijanis began to post the first photographs of captured Armenian servicemen. It is immediately clear that these are ordinary soldiers, and not saboteurs at all. The Armenian special forces look different.”
On May 12, the Armenian Defense Ministry reported that the Azerbaijani armed forces tried to carry out work “to clarify the borders” in one of the border areas of the Syunik region, details were not provided. Yerevan turned to the CSTO for consultations, urging to take measures to eliminate the “threat to the security and territorial integrity” of the country. The incident was also discussed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Armenian counterpart Ara Ayvazyan.
Syunik region is a territory bordering with Azerbaijan in the south of Armenia. After the recent escalation, a number of Azerbaijani troops remain there. Yerevan stated that they are not ready to discuss demarcation and delimitation until their withdrawal.
Security in some sections of the road in the Syunik region is provided by Russian border guards.
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- Armenian Soldier Reportedly Killed In Fire-Fight On Armenian-Azerbaijani Border
- Azerbaijan Moves Into Armenian Syunik Region, Attempts To Capture More Territories