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Armenia reports shootout with Azerbaijani troops

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Armenia and Azerbaijan traded accusations Tuesday of starting a shootout in which troops on both sides were injured, in the latest incident between the Caucasus countries since their war last year over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The longstanding dispute for the control of Nagorno-Karabakh -- the Armenian-populated region inside Azerbaijan -- escalated in September last year into an all-out war that claimed more than 6,500 lives.

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Hostilities ended in November with a Russian-brokered ceasefire under which Yerevan ceded swathes of territory it had controlled for decades.

The Armenian army Chief of Staff, Samvel Asatryan, told journalists Tuesday that "Azerbaijani forces opened fire near the village of Verin Zhorzha" in Armenia's eastern district of Gegarkunik.

One Armenian soldier "sustained minor injuries in the shootout".

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Azerbaijan's defence ministry initially denied the report but later in the evening said "Armenian troops fired shots towards the positions of Azerbaijani army deployed in the village of Aligaly of Agdam district."

"As a result, one Azerbaijani serviceman was injured," a ministry statement said.

Tensions between Baku and Yerevan have been running high since May when Armenia accused Azerbaijan's military of crossing its southern border to "lay siege" to a lake shared by the two countries.

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Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at the time asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for military support.

Moscow said it would help with the delimitation and demarcation of the neighbours' borders.

Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan as the Soviet Union collapsed, and the ensuing conflict has claimed around 30,000 lives.

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