ANKARA (AA) – An Azerbaijani civilian convoy of cars carrying non-military goods for building civil infrastructure came under fire Wednesday from “illegal Armenian armed detachments” near the Gozlukorpu settlement in the Kalbajar region of Karabakh, according to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.
The convoy, which was traveling from the Sugovushan settlement of the Tartar region to the Kalbajar region, was attacked around 2 p.m. (1000GMT) local time, the ministry said in a statement.
As a result of the shooting, the car of the Military Automobile Inspectorate of the Military Police of the Azerbaijan Army, which was at the front of the convoy, was damaged, but no one was killed or wounded, the statement said.
The ministry emphasized that it is “inadmissible” for Armenian armed detachments to subject to fire a convoy of civilian vehicles accompanied by Russian peacekeepers in order to restore civilian infrastructure in the territories liberated from the nearly three-decade occupation by Armenian forces.
“The Command of the Russian peacekeeping forces temporarily stationed in a certain part of the Karabakh Economic Region of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Russian-Turkish Joint Monitoring Center were asked to investigate the incident,” it added.
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.
New clashes erupted on Sept. 27 last year that saw the Armenian army launch attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violate several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages that were occupied for nearly three decades.
A Nov. 10, 2020 cease-fire deal mediated by Russia also included future efforts for a comprehensive resolution of the dispute.
The cease-fire is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces withdrew in line with the agreement.
Prior to this victory, about 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory had been under illegal occupation.
On Jan. 11 this year, 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.