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Armenia says 4 soldiers killed in border clashes with Azerbaijan

An ethnic Armenian soldier stands guard next to a Nagorno-Karabakh flag on a hill near Charektar in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh on November 25, 2020. (Photo by AP)

Armenia and Azerbaijan have traded blame on fire fight that erupted along the volatile border between the two arch-foes, with Yerevan saying four of its soldiers were killed in the southern region of Siunik.

The Armenian defense ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that “four people were killed and one injured as a result of fire on Armenian positions from Azerbaijani troops.”

But Azerbaijan’s border guards said this was a “riposte” to a “provocation” Armenian troops committed on Monday that according to Baku left one Azerbaijani soldier injured.

It warned that further “provocations” would be met with “more serious and decisive measures from now on.”

“The military and political leadership of Armenia is fully responsible for the incident.”

Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said Armenian forces had opened fire twice late Monday at Baku’s positions on Kokhanabi village in the northeastern Tovuz region.

But Yerevan denied the allegation, saying the claim “does not align with reality.”

Nagorno-Karabakh has been at the center of a dispute between Baku and Yerevan for more than three decades.

Since gaining independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, the two neighboring countries have fought two wars, in 1994 and 2020, over the mountainous territory.

Karabakh, while acknowledged as a part of Azerbaijan by the international community, has a predominantly Armenian population that has persistently opposed Azerbaijani governance since a separatist war in 1994.

Last year, Azerbaijan recaptured Karabakh in a lightning offensive that prompted an exodus of more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians.

The latest border skirmish was the first fatal incident since the two sides began negotiating a treaty to formally end the conflict last year.

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