Armenia Says Soldier Killed in Border Shootout With Azerbaijan

Armenia on Tuesday accused Azerbaijan of killing one of its soldiers in a fresh border shootout between the arch-foe Caucasus countries locked in a decades-long territorial dispute.

There have been frequent reports of shootouts along their shared border since the end of 2020 war between Yerevan and Baku over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region.

“On Monday evening, an Armenian serviceman was fatally wounded as a result of enemy fire at the eastern section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border,” Armenia’s defense ministry said Tuesday in a statement.

Azerbaijan’s defense ministry accused Armenian troops of initiating a border shootout in the evening, saying “Armenia’s military-political leadership is responsible for the latest escalation.”

In early August, tensions flared as Azerbaijan said it had lost a soldier and the Karabakh army said two of its troops had been killed and more than a dozen injured.

The neighbors fought two wars – in the 1990s and in 2020 – over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, Azerbaijan’s Armenian-populated enclave.

Six weeks of fighting in autumn 2020 claimed more than 6,500 lives and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

Under the deal, Armenia ceded swathes of territory it had controlled for decades and Moscow deployed some 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce.

During EU-mediated talks in Brussels in May and April, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan agreed to “advance discussions” on a future peace treaty.

Following its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, an increasingly isolated Moscow lost its status as the primary mediator in the conflict.

The European Union has since led the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process, which involves peace talks, border delimitation, and the reopening of transport links.

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Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.