An Azerbaijani soldier was martyred in a cross-border attack by Armenian forces, local authorities announced Monday.
Jr. Sgt. Elshan Mammadov Alioglu lost his life in the attack that hit Azerbaijan’s border province of Tovuz, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement expressing deep condolences to the family of the martyr.
The ministry noted there has been an increase in incidents of “gross cease-fire violations” by Armenia.
“Regular shelling of Azerbaijan’s public settlements, civilians, and infrastructure near the line of contact, the use of larger-caliber weapons, reconnaissance and sabotage activities against the positions of units, as well as the widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) have led to a serious aggravation of the situation on the frontline,” it added.
However, these provocations were responded to and the Armenian side suffered “heavy losses”, the statement went on to say.
Late on Sunday, an Armenian drone was downed by Azerbaijani forces when it entered their territory, it added.
Amid heightened tensions between the two nations since July, such drones carrying out reconnaissance over Azerbaijan’s territory have been downed multiple times.
In a separate statement, the Defense Ministry stressed that Armenian military units violated the cease-fire 30 times throughout the day.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry also condemned the ongoing policy of aggression.
“Following the recent commentary of the Armenian Foreign Ministry on peace and security in the region and the statement of the Armenian Foreign Minister calling for a peaceful settlement of the conflict, this bloody provocation is a clear demonstration of the Armenian government’s real intention, which is about continuing the aggression, and not achieving a peace,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.
The Armenian “military-political leadership” bears the entire responsibility for the aggravation, it added.
Observers say the Armenian attack comes at a time when Russia commenced on Monday its Kavkaz-2020 military drill in the North Caucasus, as well as in the Black and Caspian seas.
Russia has been long known for its support to Armenia, which is also taking part in the drill along with Belarus, China, Myanmar and Pakistan.
The Armenian army violated a cease-fire on July 12 and attacked Azerbaijani positions with artillery fire, withdrawing after suffering losses following retaliation from the Azerbaijani army.
However, the attack martyred 12 Azerbaijani soldiers, including high-ranking officers, and wounded four troops.
Since 1991, the Armenian military has illegally occupied the Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh region, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions as well as decisions by many international organizations refer to this fact and demand the withdrawal of the occupational Armenian forces from Upper Karabakh and seven other occupied regions of Azerbaijan.
The OSCE Minsk Group — co-chaired by France, Russia and the US — was formed to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but has yet to get any results.
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