STEPANAKERT — NKR Defense ministry has reported that three Armenian soldiers were wounded on Friday when the Azerbaijani army shelled their frontline positions just southeast of Nagorno-Karabakh. The MInistry identified the servicemen as Robert Gasparyan (born in 1969), Hambartsum Harutyunyan (born in 1997) and Vahe Badalyan (born in 1998).

Karabakh’s Defense Army also alleged renewed Azerbaijani artillery fire from Alkhanli, an Azerbaijani village in the area where two civilians were killed on Tuesday.

The Defense Army released on Friday a video, showing Azerbaijani troops opening fire late on Thursday with a cannon positioned several dozen meters from village houses. It portrayed the footage as further proof that Alkhanli residents are being used as “human shields” in skirmishes with Karabakh Armenian forces.

“The Azerbaijani official propaganda continues its policy of deception and falsehood with another expression of which occurred on July 6, when the Azerbaijani defense ministry, prosecutor general’s office, and foreign ministry facilitated the visit of foreign journalists and military attaches accredited in the country to Alkhanlu settlement, where they were allegedly provided with “irrefutable evidence” about the non-existence of military base and firing points there”, NKR Army stated.

Later in the day, the Karabakh army reported that Azerbaijani forces heavily shelled its positions with light cannons, mortars and even 122-milimeter howitzers, wounding three of its soldiers. In a statement, it said its frontline troops are “taking retaliatory actions.”

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry confirmed the shelling, saying that it was carried out in order to avenge the deaths of two villagers on Wednesday and thwart a fresh Armenian “provocation.”

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