Clashes On the Armenia and Azerbaijan Border

The latest information provided by the Armenian Ministry of Defense states that the Azerbaijan armed forces have recently attacked a number of their positions with fatalities reported. The situation on the border remains tense.

Update by the Armenian Ministry of Defense as of 16 November, 4:24 PM local time./@ArmeniaMODTeam via Twitter

Ministry of Defense of Armenia released the following statement at 14:00 local time:

“As of 14:00, the situation in the eastern direction of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border continues to be tense. As it was already reported, the subdivisions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces once again resorted to provocation, attacking the Armenian positions located in that direction. The enemy uses artillery, armored vehicles, firearms of different calibers. The Armenian side has taken retaliatory actions. As a result of intense shootings, the enemy has a loss of armored vehicles.”

Subsequent statements from the Armenian Ministry of Defense describe Azerbijan’s efforts to blame the clashes on Armenian provocation as “a large-scale disinformation campaign.” A 15:00 (local time) statement noted “The information about the victims and the wounded from the Armenian side is being clarified. At this moment it is known for sure about 4 wounded.”

The Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense also commented earlier today that their actions had been provoked by the Armenians. Apparently, a number of such actions took place in the regions of Kalbajar and Lachin. The Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense said:

“Armenian armed forces have committed large-scale provocations against Azerbaijan in the Kalbajar and Lachin regions of the state border.
On November 16, at about 11:00, Armenian military formations launched a sudden military operation in order to capture the high grounds in this direction of the state border and take more advantageous positions, thereby gaining military superiority.
Armenian military units, assembling additional forces, special military equipment at the border combat positions in the Basarkechar and Garakilsa regions, attacked the combat posts of the Azerbaijan Army in the Kalbajar and Lachin regions.”

The Armenians claim that they have lost two positions. The casualty situation is constantly monitored and the officials of neither nation have given confirmed numbers. There are some leaks and claims made, however, the outcome of the events remains unclear. Azerbaijan claims that it took some Armenian prisoners and seized a number of weapons.

The Armenians claims to have engaged and destroyed a column of Azeri vehicles. The video, embedded above, shows what looks like a supposed short exchange of fire between the fighting sides and a vehicle taking a hit. However, with little information coming out from the combat zone it is difficult to distinguish between materials taken during the last war in the region and the footage filmed today. Besides that, the flow of information is strictly controlled by both Armenia and Azerbaijan, with both accusing the other of disinformation campaigns.

The Azeri Ministry of Defense briefing foreign military attachés on the situation on the afternoon of 16 November /@wwwmodgovaz via Twitter

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense has also confirmed in statements that the Minister of Defense, Zakir Hasanov, has spoken with both his Russian and Turkish counterparts. The statement on the conversation with Turkey’s Hulusi Akar noted that “provocations committed by the Armenian side” were discussed while this was not mentioned in the statement on the conversation with Russia’s Sergei Shoigu. Instead it commented that “General of the Army S. Shoigu expressed readiness to make efforts to end military operations and stabilize the situation.”

It may be that Azerbaijan decided to take advantage of the international focus on a new European migration crisis and decided to break the deal made by the end of 2020 and Armenian defeat in the Nagorno-Karabakh War. However, as mentioned previously, it is too early to be sure of the catalyst for the clashes.