YEREVAN — Three Armenian soldiers were killed and several others wounded early on Monday in fresh fighting reported from the most volatile section of Armenia’s heavily militarized border with Azerbaijan.
The Armenian Defense Ministry said the soldiers — Hrach Sargsian, Zohrab Balabekian and Karen Davtian — died while fighting back a cross-border incursion by Azerbaijani forces into the northern Tavush region.
“The sabotage advance was halted and the enemy was repelled, suffering casualties,” read a ministry statement. “The Armenian Armed Forces control the situation along the line of contact, carrying out actions commensurate with the situation,” it said without elaborating.
The statement added that Armenia’s chief military prosecutor, Gevorg Kostanian, and a team of Defense Ministry investigators rushed to the scene of the deadly fighting.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed serious concern about the incident when she visited Yerevan later in the day.
Clinton had what she described as a “serious discussion” with President Serzh Sarkisian on this and other deadly skirmishes in the conflict zone. “I am very concerned about the danger of escalation of tensions and the senseless deaths of young soldiers and innocent civilians,” she told journalists after the talks.
“The use of force will not resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and therefore force must not be used. We are calling on everyone to renounce force as well as refraining from violence,” she said.
“I assured the president that I would make these points in Baku when I am there the day after tomorrow,” added Clinton.