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YEREVAN. – The Azerbaijani side has set itself the task of keeping the tension from time to time on any sector of the line of contact, and today's provocation was another manifestation of that. Vitali Mangasaryan, a military expert, made such an observation in a conversation with Armenian News-NEWS.am, referring to the Azerbaijani military units’ attempt Sunday to capture—using artillery—a combat position in the direction of Tavush Province of Armenia.

However, according to him, the main direction of the attack of the Azerbaijani side is the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) wing. In other words, this incident must be considered from the point of view of the adversary's attempt to maneuver. "Azerbaijani media state that, supposedly, their units have carried out a successful operation and that they have no territorial losses, whereas according to their Ministry of Defense, they have given two casualties and five wounded. I believe the number of their casualties is more, but for now with such statements they are trying to hide their casualties. Besides, it should be taken into account that the Azerbaijani border troops, which are inferior to the army units—both technically and in terms of combat-readiness—are serving on the border with Tavush," he said.

As per Mangasaryan, the escalation of border tensions may be due to the number of cases of the coronavirus in the Azerbaijani army. "Azerbaijani social media are flooded with information about the increase in the number of infected people in the army, which are officially hidden. This circumstance also can to some extent have its effect, aiming to divert the [Azerbaijani] public's attention from the real picture of the spread of the pandemic in the [Azerbaijani] army," he added.

Mangasaryan considered the use of artillery in the direction of Tavush to be a matter of concern, which, according to him, is an additional factor in escalating the tension. "If recently they [Azerbaijan] were using mainly firearms of different calibers, today they have already started firing from artillery, which poses serious risks in terms of increasing the tension, and it is very likely that they will gradually increase those calibers," he said.

According to the expert, it is not ruled out that this operation will be followed by the operation of the Azerbaijani side to target the border settlements of Armenia. "The [Armenian] society must be ready for any development," Vitali Mangasaryan concluded.

To note, the Azerbaijani side on Sunday made two attempts to capture a border position of the Armenian Armed Forces in the direction of Tavush Province, using artillery fire, but was suppressed by the Armenian army and driven back, suffering casualties. And in the evening, Shushan Stepanyan, spokesperson for the defense minister of Armenia, informed that the Azerbaijani side resumed shelling in the direction of the same position, but this time from an 82mm grenade launcher and a tank.

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