By Emil Danielyan
Armenia’s Defense Ministry reported on Monday that one of its soldiers has been fatally shot in what it described as a truce violation by Azerbaijani forces in the tensest section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
The ministry said in a statement that Sergeant-Major Levon Adamian, 20, was wounded in the chest and died as he was rushed to hospital late on Saturday. It said the incident occurred near the northern Armenian town of Noyemberian. No other details were reported.
Adamian is at least the second Armenian soldier killed in the area bordering Georgia since February. Skirmishes between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops deployed there appear to have become more frequent in recent months, with each side accusing the other of breaching the ceasefire. The Azerbaijani military did not report any fighting in the westernmost section of the heavily militarized frontier in recent days, though.
According to the Azerbaijani news agency APA, an Azerbaijani soldier was wounded and hospitalized on Saturday about 300 kilometers east of the area, along the main Armenian-Azerbaijani line of contact around Nagorno-Karabakh. The information was not immediately confirmed by the Defense Ministry in Baku. The ministry said earlier that a 19-year-old Azerbaijani army conscript, Egdar Hajigayibov, was shot and killed by Armenian forces near a village just north of Karabakh on May 17.
The latest upsurge in Armenian-Azerbaijani shootouts followed the collapse of long-awaited talks between Presidents Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian near Paris last February. The two leaders are scheduled to meet again in Bucharest early next week amid fresh hopes for a breakthrough in the Karabakh peace process.
High-ranking diplomats from France, Russia and the United States sounded cautiously optimistic about the outcome of the summit as they wrapped up a two-day visit to Baku and Yerevan last Thursday. In a joint statement, they said the conflicting parties are now “at the point where a mutually beneficial agreement is achievable.”