Armenia, Azerbaijan Trade Blame For New Border Shoot-Out
By RFE/RL's Armenian Service, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service May 26, 2021
Azerbaijan and neighboring Armenia have blamed each other for a border shoot-out that Yerevan says claimed the life of one of its soldiers amid renewed tensions between the two South Caucasus neighbors after last year's war over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The Armenian Defense Ministry said the serviceman was killed on May 25 "as a result of a shoot-out that followed the opening of fire by Azerbaijani troops" in Armenia's Gegharkunik district. It said the situation was now "calm" after the skirmish.
Conversely, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry accused Armenian forces of firing across the border at its troops.
Azerbaijani forces did not return fire and there were no casualties, the Azerbaijani ministry said in a statement.
The clashes erupted months after the two South Caucasus neighbors ended a six-week war over Nagorno-Karabakh. The conflict, which claimed some 6,000 lives, ended in November 2020 with a Moscow-brokered cease-fire that saw Armenia ceding swaths of territory that ethnic Armenians had controlled for decades.
Earlier this month, Armenia accused Azerbaijani troops of crossing several kilometers into its Syunik and Gegharkunik provinces and trying to stake a claim to territory. Azerbaijan insisted that its troops did not cross into Armenia and simply took up positions on the Azerbaijani side of the frontier that were not accessible in winter months.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been controlled by ethnic Armenians since the early 1990s.
Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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