Armenia Alleges EU Observer Shooting by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh

Armenia on Tuesday (August 15th) accused Azerbaijan of having fired on European Union observers deployed at its request on its side of the border since February. Baku denied the claim, while the European Union Monitoring Mission in Armenia (EUMA) confirmed its presence during a “shooting incident” on the border with Azerbaijan, stating that none of its observers had not been injured. This against a backdrop of growing tensions between the two countries.

“We can confirm that a EUMA patrol was present during a shooting incident in our area of responsibility. No EUMA personnel were injured,” the mission posted on X, formerly Twitter. The body thus corrected a statement published a few minutes earlier which denied any incident, while not accusing anyone, while Armenia assures that Azerbaijan deliberately targeted the Europeans, reports our correspondent in Brussels, Laxmi Lota.

The Armenian Defense Ministry on Telegram had first reported the incident a few hours earlier: “Azerbaijani Armed Forces units fired” around noon “with firearms at the observers who were patrolling the vicinity of Verin Shorzha (East), as well as on their vehicle,” he said on Telegram. “There are no casualties,” he said.

Shortly after the initial accusations, Azerbaijan called these claims “false”. “The time of visits by EU observers (…) is presented to the Azerbaijani side in advance,” the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement on Telegram. “For this reason, it is impossible in practice as well as in theory for such a situation to occur as claimed by the Armenian Defense Ministry,” he added.

Baku accuses Yerevan of amassing troops on the border

With around 100 members and launched in February, the EU Civilian Mission in Armenia (EUMA) is an observation mission on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

These two former Soviet republics in the Caucasus have been in conflict for more than 30 years over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The risk of an escalation remains high around this Azerbaijani enclave populated mainly by Armenians, despite Western efforts to find a peaceful settlement.

Russia calls on Azerbaijan to unblock the only road linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh

On Monday August 14, Azerbaijan accused Armenia of reinforcing its troops along the border in preparation for a military provocation, a claim denied by Yerevan.

These events come after the escalation of tensions between the two parties in recent days: Yerevan accused Baku of blocking traffic in the Lachin corridor. This road is the only land link connecting Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, where the humanitarian situation is deteriorating, according to Yerevan and NGOs, with shortages of food, medicine and energy.

On the Lachin corridor, Russia called on Azerbaijan on Tuesday to unblock the road axis: “A particular emphasis was placed on the need for the practical implementation of measures (…) aimed at de-escalation of the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh, including the unblocking of humanitarian routes, including the Lachin corridor,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his Azerbaijani counterpart in a telephone interview, according to a statement of his services.

An emergency session of the UN Security Council is being held on Wednesday August 16 to discuss the humanitarian situation there.

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