Border clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan continued on July 16.
In the morning, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan said that clashes are ongoing in the Tovuz area. According to the statement, Armenian forces attacked positions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces and shelled the villages of Agdam, Donar Gushchu and Vahidli.
However, the Azerbajiani side claimed that its forces keep situation under their control. It also added that reports of Armenian media about the destruction of the Azerbaijani battle tank were false. According to the defense ministry press service, all battle tanks of Azerbaijani forces are behind the frontline and are not engaged in the clashes.
The defense ministry says that a total of 11 Azerbaijani soldiers, including high-ranking officers, have been killed and another four wounded in fighting with Armenian forces since July 12.
Kerim Veliyev, Azerbaijan’s deputy defense minister says that nearly 100 Armenian soldiers have been killed during the period. He said that the Armenian side tries to hide its casualties.
Armenian media claimed that a battle tank of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces was destroyed:
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani media and officials continue accusing Armenia of agressive actions against Azerbajian and argue that the Armenian side is intentionally instigating the conflict.
On July 13, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev described Armenia as a “fascist state” adding that “Armenian forces could not enter Azerbaijan in one centimeter of soil and will never be able to do this”.
The President added that there is no need to mobilize armed forces in the current sitaution and denounced provocations by ‘particular forces’ inside and outside the country. This statement was a reaction to a pro-war meeting in Baku. Despite the strong anti-Armenian rhetoric, the top leadership of Azerbaijan wants to demonstrate that it does not support the escalation.
The Armenian village of Argeipar is being shelled by Azerbaijani artillery units:
The Armenian version of events is quite different. The Armenian Armed Forces claimed On July 16 that Armenian forces recorded the defeat of Azerbaijani forces.
“The Armenian Armed Forces are watching, seeing the air and ground space and are ready to defeat the enemy units. And this morning we are fixing this defeat,” a spokesperson for the Armenian Defense Ministry Artsrun Hovhannisyan said.
He described actions of Azerbaijan as an “offensive” attempt and claimed that Baku employed at least 100 soldiers supported by fire of several artillery battalions. According to Armenia, there have been at least 2 offensive attempts since the start of he escalation on July 12.
Hovhannisyan said that Azerbaijan lost at least 20 soldiers, a battle tank and other equipment during the clashes. The Armenian side also observed an intense usage of drones during the attacks.
According to official reports by the Armenian military, 4 Armenian personnel, including a major, were killed in the clashes. It also regularly accused Azerbaijan of shelling civilian areas (villages) near the border.
Մոտավորապես 50-ից ավելի հրետանային #արկեր են կիրառվել հայկական 5-6 #բնակավայրերի նկատմամբ: Գրեթե լիովին պահպանվում է #հրադադարի ռեժիմը, սակայն մեր #զինված_ուժերն ունեն բարձր մարտունակություն, զգոն են, լիարժեք տիրապետում են իրավիճակին, հետևում են հակառակորդի բոլոր զարգացումներին։
— MoD of Armenia ?? (@ArmeniaMODTeam) July 15, 2020
The Armenian Foreign Ministry emphasized that Azerbaijan resumed to aggressive actions, violating the previously reached agreement on the cessation of hostilities and after the statement of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs on July 15 on the establishment of relative calm on the border.
Both Armenia and Azerbaijan claim that they conduct defensive actions only and accuse each other of waging an open aggression. At the same time, propaganda and war-style rhetoric in the countries reached the level when their leadership is in fact forced to answer with force to every move of the opponent. Thus, even if the sides do not seek to launch a full-scale military conflict, clashes continue. In the event of some larger military incident on the border with dozens of killed at one moment, these clashes could easily escalate and further.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Armenia And Azerbaijan On Brink Of Regional War: Brief Overview
- Armenian-Azerbaijani Clashes Risk To Escalate Into Regional Conflict. At Least One General Already Killed (Videos)
- At Least 4 Azerbaijani Soldiers Killed In Resumed Border Clashes With Armenian Forces (Video)