4 Artsakh servicemen were killed

Negotiations and Shootings

Talks between Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers resumed in Arlington, near Washington, on Tuesday, June 27. At the same time, on Wednesday night, the Azerbaijani military opened artillery fire and used drones.

As a result, 4 servicemen of Artsakh Defense Army: Armo Abgaryan, Samvel Torosyan, Yervand Tadevosyan and Gagik Balayan were killed.
Who were They?
Samvel Torosyan, 19, was born and raised in Stepanakert.

His sister, Mariam Grigoryan, told that her brother studied at Mesrop Mashtots University in the capital.

"He was interested in information technology. He would have turned 20 this December. He wanted to become a programmer, he loved and was interested in this field since his school years. He was the son of an intelligent and traditional family. He was very human, friendly. Even in the most difficult moments of his life he always stood by his parents, younger sister, relatives and people around him as an adult."
Yervand Tadevosyan was born in Stepanakert. His family was resettled from the Kashatagh region as a result of the 44-day war in Artsakh, settling again in Stepanakert. Yervand went as a volunteer to defend his homeland. As a result of the complete blockade of Artsakh by Azerbaijan, his family remained in the Republic of Armenia, deprived of the possibility of reunification.

Yervand Tadevosyan and Samvel Torosyan will be buried in the "Yerablur" military pantheon in Yerevan. For several days, Azerbaijan prevented the transportation of the bodies of the soldiers. Eventually, however, with the help of the ICRC, the issue was resolved. The soldiers will be able to find their final resting place in Armenia.
Armo Abgaryan and Gagik Balayan were volunteers from the village of Gishi in the Martuni region of Karabakh.

Armo Abgaryan was 54 years old and had 4 children. Gagik Balayan was only 36 years old. He was also the father of 4 children. Moreover, Gagik himself was the son of a man who died in the First Artsakh War.

Armo Abgaryan and Gagik Balayan were from the Gishi community of Artsakh's Martuni region. The head of the community, Serob Aghabekyan, shared about the dead:

"Both went as volunteers to defend the homeland. Besides, they were also engaged in agricultural works. They are fathers of large families and have minor children. They were hard workers who lived hard lives. Gagik is the son of the fallen, his father died in the 90s. Armo also lived a hard life - last year his child got ill, we even raised money in the community to save the child's life. Both of the victims were the main breadwinners of the family.

Armo Abgarian and Gagik Balayan will be buried in Artsakh.
Armenia's Response

"Expressing condolences to the families and friends of the victims, I must emphasize that this military provocation has long been prepared by information attacks. Azerbaijan has regularly reported that the Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh was violating the ceasefire in different parts of the line of contact. The Nagorno-Karabakh authorities have consistently demonstrated the far-fetched nature of the Azerbaijani media publications, making it clear that Azerbaijan is pursuing a consistent policy of exacerbating the situation and expelling Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh. In other words, it is a policy that we have long warned about," said Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan.

The Prime Minister stressed that the June 28 provocation is aimed at neutralizing the efforts to establish peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan and resolve the rights and security issues of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Ambassador-at-Large Edmond Marukyan urged: "The international community must monitor Baku's actions to prevent another provocation and policy of ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh."

He referred to Azerbaijani media reports about a new special operation being prepared by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to him, Baku argues that the four soldiers killed in the June 28 aggression in Nagorno-Karabakh were allegedly servicemen of the Armenian Defense Ministry.

"The allegations of the Azerbaijani side are far-fetched. There are no Armenian servicemen in Nagorno-Karabakh, the killed servicemen were Karabakhis. Armenia has repeatedly proposed to send an international fact-finding mission to Nagorno Karabakh to prove the presence or absence of Armenian military units. Azerbaijan has rejected that offer," Marukyan recalled.
Expert Opinion

The Azerbaijani shootings and Armenian servicemen's deaths in Nagorno Karabakh negate any chance for positive results of the meeting in Washington. This was stated by political analyst Garik Keryan in his interview with Sputnik Armenia.

He recalled the fundamental difference in the approaches of Russia and the West on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. If Russia thinks that the status issue should be left for the future, the West wants to close the issue here and now, offering certain guarantees of rights and security to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan. However, the mentioned incident on the line of contact completely disavows the Western approach, showing its lack of viability.

"When skirmishes on the line of contact go even in parallel with the negotiations, in this case in Washington, it is difficult to believe that after the signing of a peace treaty the population of Karabakh will have some stable security guarantees".