Two Azerbaijani soldiers have been killed in an armed conflict with Armenian forces in the border region.
The incident occurred after Armenian army fired at Azerbaijan’s positions from its northeastern Tavush region, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
"Two Azerbaijani servicemen were killed and five more wounded," the statement said, adding that Armenia’s “offensive” was met with a “counterstrike.”
Shushan Stepanyan, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense of Armenia, accused the Azerbaijani army of launching an attack using artillery fire in an attempt to capture Armenian positions.
“They were repulsed, suffering losses in manpower. There were no casualties among Armenian servicemen.”
Sunday’s clashes erupted in the wake of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s raising the specter of a fresh war with Armenia and denouncing the long-stalled Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
Commenting on the incident, Aliyev said, “Armenia's military adventure is aimed at dragging into the conflict the military-political organization of which it is a member,” referring to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
He further accused Yerevan of military buildup along the border and of “regularly” shelling civilian targets in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has been engaged in a dispute with Armenia over Karabakh – an Azerbaijani territory seized by Armenian separatists in a bloody war in the 1990s.
Some 30,000 people were killed in the conflict, which ended with a fragile truce in 1994. The two former Soviet republics are still technically at war and have yet to reach a permanent peace agreement on the issue.
Since then, international mediators have been working to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in the Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh.