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Armenia Says Soldier Killed In Shoot-Out With Azerbaijani Forces

By RFE/RL's Armenian Service, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service May 26, 2021

An Armenian soldier was killed on May 25 in a border shootout with Azerbaijani forces, the Armenian Defense Ministry said, amid tensions after last year's war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

However, Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry accused Armenia of "deliberately fueling tensions…in the border zone" by disseminating "lies."

The Armenian ministry said that the situation was now "calm" after the skirmish at the Verin Shorzha border point in Armenia's Gegharkunik district.

The area borders a region that was retaken by Azerbaijan in the war.

"One serviceman has been killed as a result of a shoot-out that followed the opening of fire by Azerbaijani troops" at a border position in eastern Armenia, the ministry said in a statement.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been controlled by ethnic Armenians since the early 1990s.

A long-simmering conflict over the region erupted into full-blown war in late September, with some 6,000 people killed in six weeks of fighting that ended in a Moscow-brokered cease-fire deal.

Under the cease-fire, a chunk of Nagorno-Karabakh and all seven districts around it were placed under Azerbaijani administration after almost 30 years of control by ethnic Armenian forces.

The agreement also resulted in the deployment of around 2,000 Russian peacekeepers and provided for an exchange of POWs and other detained people.

Several prisoner exchanges have taken place in recent months.

Last month, hundreds of relatives of POWs and missing soldiers protested in Yerevan and other parts of Armenia.

Earlier this month, Armenia accused Azerbaijan's military of crossing the southern border in an "infiltration" to "lay siege" to a lake that is shared by the two countries, with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian saying that up to 600 Azerbaijani troops remained on Armenian territory.

Azerbaijan has rejected the claims.

The United States and France have called on Azerbaijan to pull back its forces.

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/armenia-azerbaijan- shootout-soldier-killed/31273112.html

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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