Azerbaijan claims soldier killed after Armenian ‘provocation’

Azerbaijan claims soldier killed after Armenian ‘provocation’

Azerbaijan claimed Tuesday that one of its soldiers had been killed by Armenian forces, in the latest skirmish in a volatile border region following a 2020 war between the ex-Soviet rivals.

The two Caucasus countries clashed in late 2020 for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, leaving more than 6,000 dead over just several weeks.

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Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said the soldier died as a result of a “provocation” by Armenian troops and that “all responsibility for tension lies with the military-political leadership of Armenia.”

The ministry said its forces had “suppressed” the enemy following the incident in the Kalbajar area on the border.

The district was one of several Armenia ceded to Azerbaijan as part of a ceasefire agreement that was brokered by Moscow.

The death follows claims from Armenian-supported separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh earlier this week that Azerbaijani forces opened fire in a village in the region, damaging a car parked near a school.

Defense officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said Russian peacekeepers deployed to the disputed mountainous region had been alerted to the firing, which Azerbaijan’s defense ministry denied had taken place.

Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and the ensuing war claimed around 30,000 lives. The conflict remained largely frozen until the 2020 war.

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