The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh appears to be steadily and gradually nearing another escalation.
The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan reported on another shelling by the Armenian military positions of the Azerbaijani army along the entire length of the state border.
“On July 16, from 20:40 to 22:30, units of the Armenian armed forces from positions located on the territory of the village of Yukhary, Shorja, Basarkechar district, and on July 17 at about 01:00 from the direction of the village of Mosesgeh, Berd district, fire was open with small arms at positions of the Azerbaijani Army in the direction of the village of Istisu, Kelbajar district and the village of Aghdam, Tovuz district,” the report reads.
The Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan added that on July 17 at 08:30, units of the Armenian armed forces located near the village of Aradeyen in the Vedic region fired at the positions of the Azerbaijani Army in the direction of the Sadarak district of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic with weapons of various calibers.
The Azerbaijani forces allegedly fired back. No casualties were reported.
On the other hand, Armenian Defense Ministry claimed that Azerbaijani military fired at positions of Armenian soldiers stationed near the village of Yeraskh.
“On the morning of July 16, starting from 11.00, units of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces fired at Armenian positions stationed on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border near the village of Yeraskh (in the Ararat region, 70 kilometers from Yerevan ),” the report reads.
No casualties were reported in Armenian ranks.
The reports on July 14 were different. The Armenian Defense Ministry reported the death of a soldier near Yeraskh as a result of shelling from the Azerbaijani side.
Since the ceasefire agreement signed by Armanian, Azerbaijani and Russian leaders in November 2020, sporadic clashes have been reported in the border regions on a regular basis .
The most recent escalation began on May 12. The Armenian Defense Ministry reported that the Azerbaijani armed forces tried to carry out certain works in order “to clarify the borders” in the Syunik region.
Moreover, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan claimed that according some “unofficial sources” Baku planed to provoke military clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh and on the border with Armenia. The claim was made during a joint briefing with European Council President Charles Michel.
“According to information received from unofficial sources, Azerbaijan intends to provoke new military clashes in Artsakh and on the border with Armenia, the situation on the border with Nakhichevan is a clear prove of these reports, ” Sputnik Armenia quoted Pashinyan as saying.
The resumption of military hostilities could become a chance for Baku to take control of more territories in Nagorno-Karabakh but it would also be a possibility for external forces, for example Turkey, to strengthen their influence in the region through various public and clandestine measures. A crushing advance of Azerbaijan and its allies on Armenian forces in Karabakh would allow to destabilize once again the situation near the southern borders of Russia. Meanwhile, Russia appears unwilling to take a more assertive stance, with just a small number of peacekeepers carrying out their duties at checkpoints.