Karabakh: Conflicting parties exchange blame amid tense ceasefire

Photo: Photolur

Nagorno-Karabakh’s military authorities have reported a new fatality at the line of contact with Azerbaijan, at the same time denying Baku’s accusations that Armenian forces have violated the current fragile ceasefire by killing an Azeri serviceman.

According to the Defense Ministry of Nagorno-Karabakh, Hamlet Hajoyan, 46, was fatally wounded by a shot from the Azerbaijani side on April 14 as he was on duty at a defense position in the northeastern direction (Talish).

Earlier, Azerbaijan reported the first casualty since the April 5 agreement to halt deadly fighting in the region, accusing the Armenian side of killing its army’s junior sergeant Rustam Ahmedov.

The Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Ministry vigorously denied this accusation, calling it “a piece of misinformation pursuing the goal of artificially escalating the situation.”

“It is not ruled out that by disseminating the report about the death of its soldier, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan is trying to reveal some of the hundreds of casualties suffered during battles on April 2-5 that have so far been strictly kept in secret. The dissemination by the Azerbaijani military department of reports with such contents for the purpose of disguising the failure of its military aggression is also expected in the future,” the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Ministry said.

The latest exchange of blame comes amid a visit of Secretary General of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Nikolay Bordyuzha to Armenia.

Still on April 2, when the first fierce clashes broke out in Nagorno-Karabakh, Bordyuzha’s spokesperson Vladimir Zaynetdinov said it was Azerbaijan’s actions that led to the escalation. But individual members of the defense pact, which, besides Armenia, involves Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, did not show political support for Armenia during the Karabakh crisis, while some, like Kazakhstan and Belarus, even appeared to favor Azerbaijan’s position.