Armenia says soldier killed in shootout with Azerbaijan
An Armenian soldier was killed in a shootout with Azerbaijani forces Wednesday, Yerevan said, in the latest incident between both countries since their war last year over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Armenia’s defence ministry said the soldier died at the border between the arch-foes, accusing Azerbaijan of opening fire on its troops, forcing it to return fire. “The Azerbaijani side also suffered losses,” it said.
But Baku retorted that Armenian forces opened fire near the Azerbaijani exclave territory of Nakhichevan, wounding one of its troops.
Last autumn Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a war over Nagorno-Karabakh which claimed some 6,500 lives and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire under which Yerevan ceded territories it had controlled for decades.
Tensions between Baku and Yerevan have been running high again since May, when Armenia accused Azerbaijan’s military of crossing its southern border to “lay siege” to a lake shared by the two countries.
Both Baku and Yerevan have reported occasional shootouts along their shared border.
Azerbaijan reported that Armenian forces on Tuesday “opened fire from machine guns at Azerbaijani positions in Shusha,” a strategically located town in Karabakh that was recaptured by Baku in last year’s war.
Last week, Armenia and Azerbaijan also traded accusations of starting a shootout in which troops on both sides were injured.
In May, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said Baku was ready for peace talks with Armenia.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced later the two ex-Soviet nations were holding discussions on the delimitation and demarcation of their shared 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.