Azerbaijan said it launched a retaliatory operation Wednesday against Armenian forces in Karabakh after Armenia opened fire and killed an Azerbaijani soldier, according to its defense ministry.
“On the morning of August 3, members of illegal Armenian armed detachments in the territory of Azerbaijan, where the Russian peacekeeping contingent is temporarily deployed, were subjected to intensive fire from the Azerbaijan Army positions stationed in direction of the Lachin region,” the ministry said in a statement.
Dr. Ahmad Shahidov, head of Azerbaijan Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, talked to Ulusal Channel Television on the current situation in the region.
The retaliatory move comes after an Azerbaijani soldier was killed “as a result of the terrorist and sabotage action carried out by illegal Armenian forces this morning,” it said.
The ministry said Azerbaijan “took relevant measures” and launched a counter operation after Armenian forces tried to seize the Kyrghgiz hill and establish new combat positions.
“As a result of the ‘Revenge’ retaliatory measure carried out by the Azerbaijani Army Units, the Girkhgiz peak, as well as Saribaba along the Karabakh ridge of the Lesser Caucasus and a number of other important heights were taken under control,” it added.
The ministry also shared footage of the operation.
Meanwhile, the EU demanded an “immediate cessation” of hostilities between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces.
“It is essential to de-escalate, fully respect the ceasefire and return to the negotiating table to seek negotiated solutions,” a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
Their most recent clashes were in September 2020, during which Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages that were occupied by Armenia for nearly three decades.
A Russia-brokered deal brought an end to 44 days of intense conflict in November 2020.
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