Armenia reports new border clashes with Azerbaijan forces
At least two Armenian forces have been wounded after Baku used drones in the direction of Sotk, according to Yerevan.
Renewed border clashes have erupted between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, according to Yerevan, a day after deadly fighting threatened to derail European Union-led weekend peace talks between the Caucasus arch-foes.
Baku and Yerevan are locked in a decades-long territorial dispute over Azerbaijan’s Armenian-populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh, over which they have fought two wars.
On Friday morning, “Azerbaijani Armed Forces violated the ceasefire in the direction of Sotk (eastern part of the state border) using UAVs”, the defence ministry in Yerevan said in a statement.
It said “two servicemen of the Armenian armed forces were wounded”, and one of them is in a critical condition.
Border clashes on Thursday left an Azerbaijani serviceman dead and four Armenian troops injured.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev are scheduled to meet on Sunday in Brussels for talks led by European Council President Charles Michel.
The rival leaders had also agreed to jointly meet the leaders of France and Germany on the sidelines of a European summit in Moldova on June 1, according to the EU.
Pashinyan on Thursday accused Azerbaijan of looking to “undermine the talks” in Brussels.
He warned there was “very little” chance of signing a peace deal with Azerbaijan at the meeting.
A draft agreement “is still at a very preliminary stage and it is too early to speak of an eventual signature”, Pashinyan said.
The EU-led diplomacy comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken brought the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers to Washington for negotiations in early May.
The West has stepped up mediation as the clout of Russia, historically the key powerbroker between the former Soviet republics, wanes due to its invasion of Ukraine.
Armenia, which has traditionally relied on Russia as its security guarantor, has grown increasingly frustrated with Moscow.
It has accused Russia of having failed to fulfil its peacekeeping role when Azerbaijani activists blocked Karabakh’s only land link to Armenia.
The two countries went to war in 2020 and in the 1990s over disputed territories, mainly Nagorno-Karabakh.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the two wars over the region.