The Ministers of Defence of Armenia and Azerbaijan have issued instructions to their respective armed forces emphasising the need for combat readiness.
Armenian Defence Minister, David Tonayan was in the Karabakh conflict zone on Friday and Saturday (1-2 May).
Military source told Armenian media that Tonayan, accompanied by the Minister of Defence of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic "visited a number of active duty military bases in the northern and central directions, toured various barracks and rear units and met with the troops. The main discussion points focused on the improvement of the service and social-household conditions of the servicemen, as well as combat and morale readiness, effective application of arsenal and military equipment, modernization and logistical issues."
On his part, Azerbaijani Defence Minister, Zakir Hasanov, told a meeting of senior military officers on Saturday (May 2), the "the possibility of renewed hostilities has increased dramatically".
Defence Minister Hasanov was addressing members of the command staff of the Azerbaijan Army on May 2 at the Central Command Post. Hasanov said that as a result of preventive measures taken no cases of coronavirus infection were recorded among military and civilian personnel of the Azerbaijan Army.
Azerbaijani military sources told Azerbaijani media that "the Minister of Defense drew the attention of the army leadership to the fact that recently, due to the enhanced enemy provocative actions, the possibility of renewed hostilities has increased dramatically".
The Minister of Defense gave specific instructions on the strenghtening of reconnaissance, plans for combat readiness, the provision of comprehensive support to troops, and to check the readiness of military personnel to conduct intensive training and exercises.
The Minister of Defense "demanded that commanders at all levels must be ready to suppress various provocations, decisively prevent the enemy from activating in all directions of the front, as well as be prepared for the conduct of hostilities", the sources said.
Azerbaijani Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov addressing
Staff Officers and military commanders on 2 May 2020
On Wednesday (29 April) both Armenian and Azerbaijani sources confirmed that there had been an exchange of mortar fire in incidents that afternoon in the Karabakh conflict zone. Neither side reported any casualties but this was the first time mortar fire was exchanged this year, although both sides continue to report daily breaches of the cease fire arrangements through the use of machine guns and sniper guns.
Source: commonspace.eu with agencies
Photo 1: Armenian Defence Minister, Davit Tonayan, visiting Armenian military positions in the Karabakh conflict zone on 2 May 2020
Most countries have called for end to hostilities and return to negotiations. There were exceptions.