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Armenian Soldier Killed On Azeri Border


ARMENIA -- Armenian soldiers take their position on the front line in Tavush region, July 14, 2020

An Armenian army soldier was shot dead on Wednesday in fresh ceasefire violations at a volatile section of Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan that saw heavy fighting in July.

According to Armenia’s Investigative Committee, the contract soldier, Hovik Tamrazian, was killed by Azerbaijani sniper fire.

The Azerbaijani military said one of its servicemen was shot and wounded by Armenian forces in the same area on Tuesday. It accused the Armenian side of heightening tensions there.

The Armenian Defense Ministry denied that. It said its troops deployed in northern Tavush province are only countering Azerbaijani attempts to build new border fortifications dangerously close to their positions.

“This situation has been like this for about two weeks,” Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan told the Armenian parliament later on Wednesday. He said truce violations there have “nearly doubled” in recent days.

Tonoyan also said that the Armenian army will take “appropriate actions” in retaliation for its soldier’s death. “We hope that as a result of appropriate actions by our armed forces the ceasefire will hold and facilitate the negotiating process,” he added.

The same border area between Tavush and the Tovuz district in western Azerbaijan was the scene of weeklong hostilities that broke out on July 12 and left at least 17 soldiers from both sides dead. The international community expressed serious concern over the clashes involving artillery and attack drones.

The conflicting parties reported no serious ceasefire violations along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and the “line of contact” around Nagorno-Karabakh in August.

The latest border skirmishes coincided with international mediators’ calls for Baku and Yerevan to prepare the ground for renewed talks on resolving the Karabakh conflict. The U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group spoke separately by phone with the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers on Monday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the parties late last month to prevent another flare-up of violence in the conflict zone.

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