Azerbaijani forces thwarted a provocation attempt by Armenian forces in the recently liberated Nagorno-Karabakh region, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry announced Saturday.
The ministry said that illegal Armenian forces in the region – which was liberated in fall 2020 from decades of Armenian occupation – took advantage of hazy weather to provoke the Azerbaijani army.
The ministry did not specify what form the provocation took, but said the Armenian forces were forced to immediately retreat due to quick measures taken by the Azerbaijani army.
The command of Russian elements on temporary duty in the region and the Turkish-Russian Joint Center were both told about the incident, it added.
There were no casualties among the Azerbaijani soldiers, and the situation was brought under control, the ministry said.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
Clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, with the Armenian army attacking civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violating several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and around 300 settlements and villages that had been occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.
The fighting ended with a Russian-brokered agreement on Nov. 10, 2020, which was seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia.
In January 2021, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia signed a pact to develop economic ties and infrastructure to benefit the entire region. It also included the establishment of a trilateral working group on Karabakh.
Despite the cease-fire agreement, Armenian forces periodically fire on positions of the Azerbaijani army, according to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.