Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of opening fire overnight and breaching a fragile ceasefire agreement that last week ended the worst fighting between the two ex-Soviet countries since 2020.
In statements by both defense ministries on Friday morning, Baku and Yerevan each accused the other side of firing first in renewed clashes along their shared border.
After two days of clashes that left nearly 200 soldiers dead early last week, both sides agreed on a Russian-brokered ceasefire to end hostilities, though the situation at the border has remained tense.
“On September 23 at 07:40, units of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces again violated the ceasefire regime by firing from different positions at Armenian combat positions in the eastern section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border,” the Armenian Defense Ministry said in a post on Facebook with on Friday.
“The enemy’s fire was suppressed by retaliation,” Armenia added, reporting no casualties.
Shortly after the Armenian statement, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry issued a response saying it was Armenia that opened fire first.
Baku said Armenian forces opened fire on three different areas of the shared border and “intermittently shelled positions of Azerbaijani forces with mixed caliber small arms” over a nine-hour period beginning late Thursday evening.
In a statement published on messaging app Telegram, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry also said it had taken “appropriate retaliatory measures”.
Fighting between the two sides erupted in clashes earlier this month that left nearly 200 soldiers dead – the bloodiest confrontation since a six-week war between the two former Soviet states in 2020.
The fighting is related to decades of hostilities over control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but largely controlled by the ethnic-majority Armenian population as of 2020.
Armenia said Azerbaijan had attacked its territory and seized settlements within its borders beyond the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Azerbaijan said it was responding to “provocations” from the Armenian side.
Russia is a military ally of Armenia, although it is also trying to maintain friendly relations with Azerbaijan and has resisted Yerevan’s demands to trigger a mutual self-defense clause. Turkey supports Baku militarily, financially and politically