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6 Apr, 2024 13:27

Armenia responds to reports of military buildup on Azerbaijani border

Troop movements in the area were just a usual “rotation,” the Defense Ministry in Yerevan has said
Armenia responds to reports of military buildup on Azerbaijani border

Armenia and Azerbaijan have traded accusations over several recent instances of skirmishes in border regions, with Yerevan slamming Baku over what it said was an attempt to lure it into a disproportionate military response.

In a statement on Saturday, the Armenian Defense Ministry claimed that the Azerbaijani military had opened fire in the direction of Yerevan’s forces several times overnight in a couple of border areas.

Armenian officials, however, noted that most of the gunfire was “unaimed and erratic,” adding that on Friday evening Yerevan observed a redeployment of Azerbaijani military vehicles.

The ministry suggested that those actions had sought to bait Armenia into responding in kind in such a way as to bring to reality what Yerevan called “Azerbaijani disinformation” on the matter.

“The Azerbaijani propaganda machine has disseminated false information… trying to portray the usual rotation of units of the Armenian Armed Forces as an alleged build-up on the front line,” the ministry said.

As Armenian forces refrained from escalating tensions, the situation soon stabilized, the statement read.

The ministry was apparently referring to footage shared by Azerbaijani media purporting to show a column of Armenian troops not far from the Azerbaijani region of Eastern Zangezur. Azerbaijan deems the entire area of Zangezur crucial to its effort to establish a sustainable transport route through Armenian territory to its landlocked exclave of Nakhchivan.

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, however, offered a different version of events. It claimed that it was Yerevan’s military that had opened fire on Azerbaijani soldiers, adding that it had registered more than 30 instances of gunfire over the past 24 hours.

The current tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan date back to the waning days of the Soviet Union when a dispute broke out over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Over the past decades, the two countries engaged in a series of bloody conflicts over the self-proclaimed republic. In 2023, Baku managed to regain control of Nagorno-Karabakh, triggering a mass exodus of Armenians that used to make up the ethnic majority in the area.