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Fresh Fighting Reported On Armenian-Azeri Border


ARMENIA -- Azerbaijani (L) and Armenian checkpoints at the Sotk gold mine on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Gegharkunik province, June 18, 2021

One Azerbaijani soldier was reportedly killed and three Armenian servicemen wounded on Friday in fresh skirmishes that broke out along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan.

The fighting took place near two villages in Armenia’s Gegharkunik province bordering the Kelbajar district west of Nagorno-Karabakh handed back to Azerbaijan after last year’s Armenian-Azerbaijani war.

One of those villages is part of Gegharkunik’s Geghamasar community. Its mayor, Hakob Avetian, said he heard intense gunfire that lasted for hours and stopped in the evening.

“There was also intense gunfire a few days ago,” Avetian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said one of its soldiers deployed in the border area was shot and killed by Armenian sniper fire late in the afternoon.

The Armenian military denied provoking the “intensive shootout.” It said its border troops opened fire only after three Armenian soldiers were wounded by the Azerbaijani side.

The incident occurred at one of several sections of the militarized border where Azerbaijani troops advanced a few kilometers into Armenian territory and took up new positions in mid-May, provoking a continuing standoff with Armenian army units.

It followed a series of truce violations at another border section separating Armenia’s southern Ararat province from Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave. An Armenian soldier was shot dead there on July 14. Exchanges of gunfire in that area continued until July 20.

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