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Armenia Denies Deadly Border Skirmish With Azerbaijan


Nagorno-Karabakh -- An Armenian soldier of the self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabagh aims his assault rifle at the frontline on the border with Azerbaijan, 25Oct2012

Nagorno-Karabakh -- An Armenian soldier of the self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabagh aims his assault rifle at the frontline on the border with Azerbaijan, 25Oct2012


Military authorities in Yerevan have dismissed claims by counterparts in Baku about a major ceasefire violation in which at least one Azerbaijani soldier was reportedly killed.

The Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan said on Tuesday that an Azerbaijani army conscript was killed on the line of contact in a cross-border shooting initiated by Armenian armed forces. It did not specify the location of the skirmish, but said that Azeri forces returned fire, killing two Armenian soldiers in their turn.

Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisian dismissed the report as misinformation.

“The Armenian side remains committed to the ceasefire regime,” the official told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am), denying both the incident and any loss of life on the Armenian side.

Truce violations along the line of contact around Nagorno-Karabakh as well as the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan appear to have become more frequent in recent years as talks about the status of the disputed region have stalled lately.

In the past several weeks Azerbaijan reported at least three casualties as a result of ceasefire violations blamed on Karabakh’s ethnic Armenian forces, while authorities in Stepanakert reported one killed soldier in a separate skirmish.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a three-year war over Nagorno-Karabakh that killed an estimated 30,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands. A Russia-brokered ceasefire in 1994 brought an end to the fighting, but negotiations conducted since then under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have brought little progress in the settlement of the protracted conflict.
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