Armenian soldier dies in border incident

The Armenian Ministry of Defence confirmed yesterday (29 May) that an Armenian serviceman was killed as a result of a gunshot wound sustained after being shot by an Azerbaijani soldier. On its part Azerbaijan has flatly denied that it had shot the soldier.

On 28 May, Armenia alleged that Azerbaijani troops opened fire on Armenian positions in the south-eastern part of the shared border, wounding Private Davit Vahani Vardanyan, who was taken to hospital for treatment. However, it was later announced that he had not survived as the injury had proved fatal. The Ministry of Defence expressed its condolences to the family members of the deceased serviceman. 

As a result, the Armenian Foreign Ministry re-iterated its calls for a “mirror withdrawal” of troops along the border, and the deployment of an observation mission, while also demanding an investigation by the recently formed Commissions on border demarcation and delimitation.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry also released a statement “strongly condemning” the provocation, and called on Azerbaijan to refrain from further aggressive action and rhetoric. It added that the border incident had been preceded by what it saw as "unconstructive, warmongering and expansionist statements of the President of Azerbaijan on May 27, which included aspirations towards the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia”, in reference to comments made by Aliyev claiming that there was no “Nagorno-Karabakh”, and that the conflict had been resolved. 

As the peace process has picked up pace over the past few months, these sort of border incidents have become less frequent. Nevertheless, this is a reminder that until an official peace deal is signed, the risk of potential flare-ups persists. 

source: commonspace.eu and agencies
photo: Armenian soldier; Official website of the Armenian Ministry of Defence

Related articles

Opinion: Inclusive governance is the key for peaceful co-existence in Karabakh

In the latest, in a series of op-eds discussing the future of Nagorno-Karabakh and its people on commonspace.eu, Nurlan Mustafayev says that a security dilemma remains a critical issue for both the Armenian and the Azerbaijani communities in Karabakh, and that dealing with this issue first requires demilitarisation. The author argues that “given the current uncertainty and complexity, the inclusion of both ethnic groups in local governance is one clear thing or a shared vision that should be a part of the overall peace process. The parties’ use of the untapped resources of international law on minority protection, on the one hand, and security, on the other, can play a critical role in the face of political uncertainty.