Azerbaijan says one dead, one wounded in Armenian attack

Azerbaijan’s defence ministry says its army units were attacked by “a leftover Armenian armed group of six” in Nagorno Karabakh, killing one Azerbaijani serviceman and wounding another.

The ministry said the attack took place in the Khojavend region on Sunday afternoon and was thwarted, leaving all six armed attackers dead.

“At about 15:30, an illegal armed group or rather a leftover detachment of the Armenian armed forces consisting of six troops attacked the Azerbaijan Army units in the vicinity of the Aghdam village of the Khojavend region.

“As a result of the attack, a soldier of the Azerbaijan army… was killed and … another serviceman was wounded … who has been evacuated and is in a stable condition now,” said the ministry in a statement.

“All six members of the illegal armed group were destroyed”.

The defence ministry vowed to take strong “decisive measures” if repeat attacks by Armenian troops happen.

The term ‘leftover’ used by the ministry likely refers to the personnel of the Armenian armed forces who have failed to leave the Nagorno Karabakh area despite the Russian obligation on their withdrawal.

Under the November 10 midnight deal signed by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia to end the 44-day Nagorno Karabakh War, Russia would deploy a peacekeeping contingent of approximately 2,000 soldiers in parallel with the withdrawal of all Armenian armed forces.

“The peacekeeping forces of the Russian Federation shall be deployed concurrently with the withdrawal of the Armenian troops”, reads the original statement.

It is not clear if the delay in withdrawal is in coordination with Russia, or Armenia has refused to withdraw, or some of its troops have gone rogue. It appears there is a secrecy about it and no information is available on the open sources.

The 9-point agreement also called the tripartite statement essentially says Azerbaijan holds on to areas of Nagorno-Karabakh it regained during the war; Armenia agrees to withdraw by December 1 from the remaining 3 of the 7 adjacent districts (Azerbaijan took back 4 districts  during the war); Russia deploys 1,960-strong peacekeeping forces in the Nagorno Karabakh area in parallel with with the withdrawal of the Armenian military; civilian transport/communications/ infrastructure are restored; prisoners of war are exchanged; refugees/displaced people from the both sides are returned to their homes under the UN commissioner’s supervision.

The new clash comes after there was another incident mid December, raising questions over Russia’s role.

The recent incidents show that there still exists Armenian military presence in the Nagorno Karabakh although Russia completed the deployment of its peacekeeping contingent in mid November.