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Armenia says Azerbaijani forces attack republic’s territory

The Foreign Ministry vowed a harsh response

YEREVAN, September 29. /TASS/. Azerbaijan’s forces carried out a strike on a military unit in the town of Vardenis in northern Armenia, Armenian Defense Ministry Spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan said on Tuesday.

"Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces opened fire at the military unit of the Armenian Armed Forces in Vardenis and also used their Air Force," Stepanyan wrote on her Facebook page. "This operation of the enemy was preceded by disinformation by Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry that the Armenian Armed Forces had allegedly opened fire at Azerbaijan’s Dashkesan district from the Vardenis area," she said, noting that "de facto the enemy tried to prepare ground for justifying its further actions." "Wait for a harsh response," the spokesperson stressed.

In his turn, Armenian Defense Ministry Spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan reported an attack on the civilian facilities in Vardenis and published a photo of a bus on fire. "A civilian bus is on fire in the town of Vardenis after an attack from a combat drone of Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces," he wrote on his Facebook page.

No casualties on Armenian soil were reported after the attacks, he said during a briefing.

On September 27, Baku announced that the Azerbaijani army’s positions had come under intensive shelling carried out by Armenia. In its turn, Yerevan claimed that Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces had launched an offensive in the direction of Nagorno-Karabakh, shelling the populated localities of the unrecognized republic, including the capital Stepanakert. Both parties reported casualties, including among civilians. The Armenian authorities declared martial law and announced a mobilization. Azerbaijan also imposed martial law across its entire territory and declared a partial mobilization.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France and the United States.