Despite a ceasefire in force since the beginning of November, there has apparently been another military incident in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, a soldier was killed in a skirmish between Azerbaijani armed forces and pro-Armenian fighters. Another army member was injured, the ministry said.
Fighters from an “illegal Armenian armed group” opened fire on the Azerbaijani soldiers near the village of Agdam. Six of the attackers were killed. Azerbaijan threatened “decisive action” if there were further attacks.
Armenia speaks of “provocation”
The Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh Ministry, however, rejected the report as a “propaganda provocation”. “Not a single shot was fired from the Armenian side,” said a message. There were contradicting information about the allegedly killed.
The ceasefire had been broken about two weeks ago: Several people were injured and killed in an exchange of fire at a military post of the Karabakh Army. Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of the renewed escalation.
The two states of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been in conflict over the South Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh for decades. After weeks of fighting with more than 5,000 dead, both sides signed a ceasefire agreement brokered by Moscow in November, which meant significant territorial losses for Armenia.
Azerbaijan took control of the region in November, and Russian peacekeepers are supposed to protect Christian monuments, among other things. Russia also mediates in the exchange of prisoners of war. After an exchange of more than 50 prisoners in mid-December, two Azerbaijanis and four Armenians returned to their homeland on Monday, according to Russian information.