On April 23, mediators from France, Russia and the United States issued a statement to “underscore the critical importance of the sides [to the Karabakh conflict] respecting the ceasefire at this delicate time and, in particular, keeping heavy equipment positioned in the rear of the frontlines. “
The statement came after the Karabakh Defense Army published a number of videos of what was identified as Azerbaijani military equipment, including tanks, armored vehicles and artillery, moving near the Line of Contact. The videos were first published on April 22, as public protests intensified in Armenia calling for resignation of prime minister Serzh Sargsyan.
Overall, the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontline remained relatively stable in recent months. Since the start of the year, 4 Armenian and between 5 and 8 Azerbaijani servicemen were killed in hostile fire incidents in Nagorno Karabakh. In the most recent incident, an Armenian serviceman was killed in a mine explosion on April 17. Additionally, on April 8 and 12 Azerbaijani forces opened fire on border areas in northeastern Tavush province, killing cattle and damaging a civilian truck.
UPDATE: Additional videos of Azerbaijani equipment were published by the Karabakh Defense Army on April 23 and 24. A source familiar with military developments in Karabakh suggested that an increase in Azerbaijani forces’ movements near the frontline began just before the April 9 national vote for Ilham Aliyev, and resumed amid protests in Armenia. Similar deployment became common place prior to April 2016 fighting that became known as April war, but not since.