Azerbaijani Forces Open Fire at Armenians

VerinShorja feature
The Verin Shorja village in Vardenis, Gegharkunik Province (RFE/RL screen capture)

The Verin Shorja village in Vardenis, Gegharkunik Province (RFE/RL screen capture)

Azerbaijani forces opened fire at an Armenian shepherd on Saturday, further deepening the standoff at the Armenian border, which has been escalating since May 12, when Azerbaijanis breached Armenia’s borders and advanced toward Gegharkunik and Syunik provinces.

The incident on Saturday took place in the Kut village in the Gegharkunik province, according to Armenia’s defense ministry, which also reported that cattle grazing in pastures moved close to when Azerbaijani have set up positions within Armenia’s sovereign territory.

The shepherd was attempting to rally his cattle when shots were fired at him. No injuries were reported.

The defense ministry said that Armenian forces positioned there attempted to quell the issue when Azerbaijanis opened fired at their direction.

The servicemen of the Armenian Armed Forces immediately approached the scene of the incident, in response to which the Azerbaijani servicemen opened fire again.
After the response of the Armenian side, the fire was stopped and most of the animals were returned. No one was injured in the shooting.

On Monday, the defense ministry said that Azerbaijani forces were again attempting to fortify their positions in the Verin Shorja village in the Gegharkunik province.

The defense ministry claimed that Armenian forces demanded that the Azerbaijanis stop the construction efforts, which included digging trenches with heavy equipment.

A video posted by the ministry shows that Azerbaijani forces removed their equipment following the response from Armenian forces.

Construction and fortification efforts were reported by local residents, who complained late last week that Azerbaijani forces were amassing equipment and were paving roads to ease their access to their trenches.

On Thursday, Armenian forces reportedly fired warning shots to halt the effort.

Armenia’s Human Rights Defender’s office said that the construction so close to Verin Sorja and Kut has alarmed the local population and poses a threat to their well being.

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