Armenia said on Friday that Azerbaijan had not fully fulfilled its pledge to withdraw troops that crossed the border in a disputed incident and that it had requested military assistance from Russia.
Armenia accused Azerbaijan of sending troops across the border. Azerbaijan denied this, saying its forces only defended its side of the border.
“It was agreed yesterday that the Azerbaijani armed forces will leave the Armenian lands today,” Interfax news agency quoted interim Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan as saying.
This agreement was partially fulfilled. There are areas that the Azerbaijanis have already left. But since the agreement was not fully complied with, I called the president of Russia today … for military assistance. “
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said the border guard command met with Armenia on Friday to discuss border tensions.
I gave a few other details. While such a meeting would not be exceptional – border guards from both sides met recently on Wednesday – it would be a sign that communications remain open.
Pashinyan from Armenia called Russian President Vladimir Putin late on Thursday. The Kremlin said in a telephone statement that Putin informed Pashinyan of the need to strictly enforce the ceasefire.
There was, of course, great concern on the Armenian side about the situation at the border. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that President Putin shared this concern.
A spokeswoman for the US State Department
US State Department spokeswoman Galina Porter said that Washington expects Azerbaijan to withdraw its forces immediately and “stop further provocations.”
“Military moves in the disputed areas are irresponsible and are also unnecessarily provocative,” Porter said in a telephone conversation with reporters.
During the fighting last year, Azerbaijani forces expelled Armenian terrorists from parts of the region in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, which they have controlled since the 1990s.
In Azerbaijan it was celebrated as a victory, while in Armenia it was seen as a disaster. Pashinyan resigned from his post after a crisis with his army, but he will remain in office temporarily until next month’s elections.
Russia sent peacekeepers to the region last year to help maintain the ceasefire and it also has a military base in Armenia.
Russia enjoys strong relations and a mutual defense agreement with Armenia, but it also has friendly relations with Azerbaijan.
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