At least five members of an Armenian “subversive group” were killed after attacking Azerbaijani troops, the Azerbaijani authorities claimed on Friday. The accusation was strongly denied by the Armenian side.
Armenian reconnaissance forces attempted to attack Azerbaijani positions on various parts of the line of contact, which forced the Azerbaijanis, who suffered no losses, to respond with force, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry said in a statement.
Tensions have increased along the line of contact over the past year, with many exchanges of fire reported, as well as several casualties, some of them civilian.
Trend news agency reported the Azerbaijan defence ministry as saying seven Armenians were "neutralised" in the fighting, while RFE/RL said five Armenian soldiers were killed.
However the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities firmly denied these allegations, which they called a “propaganda gimmick”.
Karabakh defence forces acknowledged that the situation along the line of contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan escalated on the night of February 11-12. Azerbaijan fired over 4,500 shots from a variety of weapons in breach of the ceasefire, thus Armenian forces in Karabakh were forced to retaliate, they said.
It has also been claimed that an Armenian civilian was shot dead by a bullet fired from the Azerbijani side.
“We express confidently that Azerbaijani side has no relation to death of a shepherd named Akop Ambarsumyan,” the Azerbaijani defence ministry said.
Sources: commonspace.eu and agencies
Photo: Members of the Azerbaijani Special Forces, during a military parade in Baku 2011.
The meeting in Krakow between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan did not lead to a breakthrough, and none was expected. But there appears to be a change of gear in the negotiations, says Dennis Sammut in this week's Monday Commentary