Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other Thursday, May 11 of shooting at the border between these two Caucasian countries, killing one and injuring four, a few days before talks planned between Baku and Yerevan in Brussels.
“A soldier from the Azerbaijani army was killed following a provocation by the Armenian forces,” said the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense, accusing Armenia of firing “large caliber weapons” at the Azerbaijani positions on the border.
For its part, Armenia has reported four injuries in these clashes, for which it blames Azerbaijan. “Azerbaijani forces are firing artillery and mortars at Armenian positions located in the Sotk region” in eastern Armenia, the Armenian Defense Ministry said Thursday morning.
Meeting in Brussels
The incident comes as the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliev, are due to meet in Brussels on Sunday for a meeting sponsored by the European Union. This meeting follows intense discussions held for four days in early May in Washington between the Armenian and Azerbaijani delegations, under the auspices of the United States.
Nikol Pashinian on Thursday accused Azerbaijan of seeking to “undermine the talks” in Brussels, while stressing that he was always ready to go. “I have not changed my decision to go to Brussels,” he declared, during an intervention before the Armenian government.
However, he considered that there was “very little” chance of signing a peace agreement with Azerbaijan during this meeting. The draft peace agreement “is still at a very preliminary stage and it is too early to talk about a possible signature”, explained the Armenian Prime Minister.
Two wars around Nagorno-Karabakh
The two Caucasian countries clashed in two wars in the early 1990s and in 2020 for control of Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous region mostly populated by Armenians that seceded from Azerbaijan more than three years ago. decades.
Tensions, already high, redoubled when Baku announced on April 23 that it had set up a first road checkpoint at the entrance to the Lachin corridor, the only axis linking Armenia to the separatist enclave, already subject to a blockade of several months which caused shortages and power cuts.
Azerbaijan justified the installation of this roadblock for security reasons, while Yerevan called on the Russian peacekeepers, deployed there since the end of 2020, to maintain control of this vital road.