Sun, 26 Sep 2021

Azerbaijan and Armenia have blamed each other for the latest border shoot-out that Yerevan says claimed the lives of three of its soldiers amid renewed tensions between the two South Caucasus neighbors after last year's war over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said three of its servicemen were killed and two wounded on July 28 after the Azerbaijani armed forces "once again provoked a violation of the cease-fire in the northeastern section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border" by launching attacks against Armenian positions.'

"All responsibility for the aggravation of the situation lies with the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan," the Armenian ministry said, adding that there were casualties on the Azerbaijani side as well.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry accused Armenia of escalating the situation. It said that units of the Armenian armed forces opened fire on positions of Azerbaijani troops stationed in the Kalbacar district shortly after midnight, wounding two Azerbaijani soldiers.

Azerbaijan emphasized that "Armenia bears full responsibility" for the escalation along the state border between the two countries.

The clashes have become more frequent along the Azerbaijani-Armenian border in recent weeks after the two South Caucasus neighbors ended a six-week war over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The conflict, which claimed at least 6,900 lives, ended in November 2020 with a Moscow-brokered cease-fire that saw Azerbaijan regaining controls over parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and all seven adjacent districts that ethnic Armenians had controlled for almost 30 years.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been controlled by ethnic Armenians since the early 1990s.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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