An Armenian serviceman was killed at the border with Azerbaijan on Tuesday, Armenia’s Ministry of Defense reported.
It said that the incident occurred in the afternoon at the southwestern border with Azerbaijan’s Nakhijevan exclave and that 26-year-old contract soldier Zohrab Simonian was fatally wounded in the chest after a shot fired from Azerbaijani military positions.
The incident comes days after Armenia and Azerbaijan traded accusations over fresh border fighting that left at least one Azerbaijani soldier killed and one Armenian soldier injured.
On March 6, the Armenian military claimed to have thwarted an Azerbaijani commando raid on one of its positions along the northeastern section of Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan.
According to the Defense Ministry in Yerevan, an Azerbaijani “sabotage” unit attacked the outpost but was repelled by Armenian soldiers deployed there, “suffering losses” as a result.
Azerbaijan’s State Border Guard Service, whose troops protect that section of the border, denied the attempted incursion. It said that Armenian troops opened “intensive” fire on some of its positions from heavy machine-guns and sniper rifles earlier that day.
Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement later on Tuesday, describing the latest ceasefire violation as “yet another attempt of Azerbaijan to intentionally escalate the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border.”
“Regular attempts by Azerbaijan to escalate the situation on the state border with Armenia, to expand the geography of escalation and refrain from applying the existing mechanisms of de-escalation attest to the deliberate nature of Azerbaijan’s attempts to undermine regional security and peace,” it said.
“Such actions of Azerbaijan demonstrate that the establishment of international risk reduction mechanisms is an important priority of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, and the implementation of agreements reached in that regard is a necessary condition for the advancement of the peace process.”
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for years.
A war in the early 1990s in which some 30,000 people were killed left ethnic Armenians in control of the region.
Diplomatic efforts to settle the conflict have brought little progress.