Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Monday said that Azerbaijani forces attempted to breach Armenia’s sovereign territory at an unspecified area, likening it to an invasion. He also fired his defense minister, Arshak Karapetyan, blaming him for the border incursion attempt.
In its statement Armenia’s Security Council said that at about 1 p.m. local time Sunday, in one of the eastern sections of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, units of the Azerbaijani armed forces invaded the sovereign territory of Armenia with the help of armored vehicles, with four military positions of Armenia’s armed forces being surrounded.
The statement said that as a result of negotiations, Azerbaijan withdrew its military equipment and personnel from the territory of Armenia, adding that Armenian forces also withdrew from aforementioned combat positions. “But the Azerbaijani force, who invaded the sovereign territory of Armenia in May, continue to be deployed in the mentioned area,” the statement added.
At a National Security Council session Monday, Pashinyan said that since Sunday afternoon he had held discussions about “the fact that Azerbaijani forces invaded the territory of the Republic of Armenia in one of the eastern parts of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.”
Neither Pashinyan, not the security council statement, would pinpoint the exact location of the incursion.
Before elaborating on his government’s efforts and what he called providing “complete information to our public,” Pashinyan announced that he had dismissed Karapetyan, the defense minister.
“I would like to stress that I have made a decision to dismiss Arshak Karapetyan as Minister of Defense and to appoint [Deputy Prime Minister] Suren Papikyan instead. This decision was made as a result of analyzing the developments taking place since yesterday,” announced Pashinyan, adding that Sunday’s developments prompted an immediate change at the helm of the Defense Ministry.
“The Security Council draws the attention of the Russian Federation, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the international community on the continuous aggressive actions of the Azerbaijani armed forces and states that these actions are directed against the sovereignty, territorial integrity of Armenia, the regional security and stability, as well as contradict the provisions of the November 9, 2020 trilateral statement,” the security council statement said.
A request by parliamentary opposition to convene an emergency session of the legislature was refused by Speaker Alen Simonyan, who also attended the security council briefing on Monday.
Official Baku, meanwhile, denied that its troops invaded Armenia’s sovereign territory, insisting that Azerbaijani soldiers are stationed in the territories belonging to Azerbaijan.
“Azerbaijani servicemen are serving in the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Leyla Abdullayeva, in response to Yerevan’s claims.