– No European visitors were injured in the crossfire
The EU monitoring mission in Armenia says it was on patrol during Tuesday’s clashes. Azerbaijan refuses.
The European Union Monitoring Mission in Armenia (EUMA) on Tuesday confirmed its presence during a “shooting incident” on the border with Azerbaijan, saying no observers were injured.
“We can confirm that an EUMA patrol was present at the time of the shooting in our area of responsibility. No EUMA personnel were injured,” Mission X said earlier on Twitter.
Armenia, which first reported the incident on Tuesday, said Azerbaijani soldiers opened fire on European visitors.
“Azerbaijani Armed Forces units opened fire on observers and their vehicle on patrol near Verin Shorsha (East) in the afternoon,” the Armenian Defense Ministry said in a telegram.
Soon, Azerbaijan called these claims “false”.
“The time of EU visitors’ visits (…) is provided to the Azerbaijani side in advance,” the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry explained in a telegram. “So it is unlikely that such a situation could occur.”
Launched in February with around 100 members, the EU Civilian Mission in Armenia (EUMA) is a monitoring mission on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
These two former Soviet republics of the Caucasus have been in conflict over the disputed territory of Nagorny Karabakh for more than thirty years.
On Monday, Azerbaijan accused Armenia of strengthening its forces along the border in preparation for a military provocation, a claim Yerevan denied.
Tensions between the two sides have risen in recent days, with Yerevan again accused of blocking traffic along the Lachin Corridor.
The humanitarian situation is worsening
According to Yerevan and NGOs, the road is the only land link connecting Armenia with Nagorny Karabakh, where the humanitarian situation is deteriorating.
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Azerbaijan to lift the embargo.
“Particular emphasis was placed (…) on the need to implement measures aimed at quickly de-escalating the situation around Nagorny Karabakh, including the blocking of humanitarian routes, including the Lachin Corridor,” he told his Azerbaijani counterpart. Djeyhoun Bairamov, during a telephone interview, according to a press release from his services.