MOSCOW – Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday proposed that Russian border outposts be stationed along the Armenian border with Azerbaijan after rising tensions between Yerevan and Baku.
Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other on Thursday of flouting a Russian-backed ceasefire that the two sides agreed to the day before to end the deadly clashes over their shared border, which they said. Yerevan wants to demarcate.
“Considering the current situation, I think it makes sense to consider the issue of stationing Russian border guard outposts along the entire length of the Armenian-Azeri border,” Pashinyan said in a statement. government meeting.
He said Yerevan was preparing to discuss the proposal with Moscow and that the move would allow work on the demarcation and delimitation of the border to be carried out without the risk of military clashes.
The Kremlin said it was in close contact with Armenia and Azerbaijan, but declined to comment on Pashinyan’s proposal.
Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet republics, are being watched closely abroad for any threat to Azeri gas and oil pipelines and the risk that regional powers Turkey and Russia will be drawn into conflict.
The Armenian Defense Ministry said Azeri troops opened fire on Armenian positions in the Gegharkunik section of the border early Thursday, prompting Armenia to retaliate. He later said the situation was calm.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said Armenian forces fired machine guns and grenade launchers at a village in the Kelbajar region and threw hand grenades. He said his forces retaliated.
The ceasefire was called on Wednesday after one of the deadliest border incidents since last year’s six-week war between ethnic Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Armenia said three of its soldiers were killed and four wounded. Azerbaijan said two of its soldiers were injured.
During the fighting from September to November last year, Azeri troops drove out Armenian forces from bands of territory they had controlled since the 1990s in and around Nagorno-Karabakh before Russia negotiated a ceasefire. fire.
A border dispute has since erupted, with Armenia and Azerbaijan accusing each other of incursions into each other’s territory, underlining the fragility of the ceasefire.