YEREVAN — The Armenian military suffered two more casualties on Friday as Azerbaijani special detachments reportedly made fresh incursions against Armenian army positions in the northeast of the country, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry said the two soldiers, Lieutenant Karen Galstian and Private Artak Sargsian, were shot dead and another serviceman, Hovannes Avanesian, seriously wounded in an Azerbaijani attack on its positions in the northern Tavush province bordering western Azerbaijan. It said that Azerbaijani forces failed to seize any of those outposts and were forced to retreat.
The killed soldiers manned an Armenian army post near the border village of Movses. “The post is operating,” said Ararat Avalian, the village mayor. “I’ve just visited it.”
“There is tension in our villagers’ minds but our school and kindergarten keep functioning,” Avalian told RFE/RL/Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) by phone.
Deadly fighting was also reported from the more militarized “line of contact” around Karabakh. The Karabakh Armenian army said three Azeri servicemen were killed at the Karvachar section of the Line of Contact, while another one, commander of the Azerbaijani sniper group, was killed in an area to the south of Nagorno-Karabakh.
“The Azerbaijani side continues its brazen policy towards its own soldiers and their relatives,” said Artsrun Hovannisian, the spokesman for the Defense Ministry, referring to the fact that Azerbaijan has not officially reported any casualties yet. “Let the citizens of Azerbaijan know that their soldiers not only get killed, but also get a humiliating treatment from their own leadership.”
The latest ceasefire violations raised to 10 the total number of Armenian soldiers reportedly killed on the Azerbaijani border and the Karabakh frontline so far this month. By contrast, Azerbaijani Defense Ministry has reported no combat casualties in January, fuelling Armenian suggestions that Baku is hiding its losses to avoid a domestic backlash against its apparent policy of escalation.