YEREVAN — One Armenian serviceman was killed and two civilians were wounded on the night from Wednesday to Thursday in intensive firing from Azeri positions in the direction of Armenian villages situated near the border in the northeastern part of the country, reports the Armenian Defense Ministry.

40-year-old Armenian serviceman, Hayk Devoyan, was killed on Wednesday night as ceasefire violations in the area intensified dramatically earlier this week.

The Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman, Artsrun Hovannisian, spoke of “unprecedented” tensions along the border section separating Armenia’s northern Tavush province and the Gazakh and Tovuz districts in western Azerbaijan. Hovannisian said that around 20 Armenian villages close to the heavily militarized frontier came under Azerbaijani fire overnight. “The enemy was silenced by our retaliatory fire,” he said.

Two residents of one of those villages, Koti — a 43-year-old woman and her 23-year-old son — were hospitalized after being wounded by cross-border fire. The village mayor, Felix Melikian, suggested that they were hit by a mortar shell. Hovannisian likewise claimed that the Azerbaijani forces fired on the Armenian villages from not only automatic weapons but also mortars.

The mayor of another Armenian village, Baghanis, posted on his Facebook page photographs of several local houses damaged by gunfire.

On Wednesday Defense Minister of Armenia Seyran Ohanyan said that recently Azerbaijan started to use long-range weapons at the line of contact accounting it for failures of the enemy.

“One of the peculiarities of the recent tensions at the border line is that the enemy started to use grenade launchers. Of course, they do not remain unanswered, they are punished. In many cases proper suppressing conditions are created with preventive means. The enemy fails to succeed, that’s why it uses long-range weapons,” said Ohanyan, giving assurances that the situation at the border is under control.

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