Reported Azerbaijani troop movements, clashes raise security concern in Armenia

JAM News
    JAMnews, Yerevan

On May 12, several Armenian media outlets and telegram channels reported clashes n the Syunik region, on the southern border of Armenia, following the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan moving their positions forward towards the Ishkhanasar community.

Deputy Mayor of Goris Irina Yolyan posted on her Facebook page that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have advanced their positions by 3 kilometers.

The Armenian Defense Ministry denied that clashes had taken place. However, the statement of the military department noted that in the morning of May 12, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, under the pretext of ‘clarifying the borders’, tried to carry out certain works at one of the border areas but were stopped after measures taken by the Armenian units. The department did not specify what kind of “works” they are talking about.

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The Ministry of Defense urged media outlets not to disseminate unverified information which can incite panic. The department emphasized that the information about military clashes does not reflect the reality, and assured that if such an incident had occurred they would report it themselves.

“Negotiations are underway to resolve the situation”, the Defense Ministry said in its statement.

The National Security Service also issued an official statement claiming that the information about the hostilities in the Syunik region is not accurate.

Syunik Governor Melikset Poghosyan stated that “there was no shootout,” and he called for information about a possible incident in Ishkhanasar to be clarified with the Armed Forces.

Deputy Mayor of Goris Irina Yolyan also reported on the negotiations and explained that they are connected with Lake Sev Lich (Black Lake) located in the region, which is being used by several villages in the region and “30% of which is located on the enemy’s territory”.

The leader of the Ishkhanasar community also told reporters that there were no clashes adding that “the cattle are now grazing in these fields.”

MP Armen Khachatryan from the ruling My Step bloc told reporters that the situation is calm, and negotiations are underway with the participation of the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian sides to resolve the differences, and the governor of the region is on the spot:

“As far as I am concerned, the Azerbaijanis, taking advantage of the melted snow, tried to carry out work to establish positions in the direction of Ishkhanasar. But since, as a result of all this, they violated the administrative border, our forces intervened and did not allow it. There were no incidents [that is, military clashes], the information in the media is wrong, does not correspond to reality and causes unnecessary alarm among people”. 

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