Azerbaijan said on Thursday it has taken control of a “vast border area” and several strategic heights and roads in the Lachin area of the Eastern Zangezur economic region.
“In connection with the commissioning of the new Lachin road, several dominant heights, main and auxiliary roads, as well as a vast border area between the villages of Jagazur and Zabukh, Lachin region, were taken under control,” the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The development comes as tensions grow over Armenian military movements in the region, including the transport of personnel and weapons, which Azerbaijan has denounced as a “gross violation” of trilateral agreements between the two countries and Russia.
On March 5, Baku said two of its soldiers were shot dead by Armenian forces when they tried to stop vehicles for an inspection on the Khankendi-Khalfali-Turshsu road.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages, and settlements from Armenian occupation after 44 days of intense fighting that ended with a Russian-brokered peace agreement.