Azerbaijan says 7 killed in border clashes with Armenia

AFP , Wednesday 17 Nov 2021

Seven Azerbaijani troops have been killed in border clashes with Armenia near the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, officials in Baku said on Wednesday.

Karabakh s Defence Army
File Photo: A serviceman of Karabakh s Defence Army fires an artillery piece towards Azeri positions during fighting over the breakaway Nagorny Karabakh region. AFP

On Tuesday, Armenian and Azerbaijani forces engaged in their worst clashes since going to war last year over the long-disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The six-week conflict, which claimed the lives of more than 6,500 people, ended last November in a Russia-mediated deal that saw Armenia cede swathes of territory it had controlled for decades.

The clashes on Tuesday along the Caucasus neighbours' shared border sparked fears of another flare-up in their territorial dispute.

"Seven servicemen died and 10 more were wounded in the clashes provoked Tuesday by Armenia," Baku's defence ministry said, adding that the situation at the border "stabilised on Tuesday evening."

Armenia's defence ministry said one Armenian soldier was killed, 13 were captured by Azerbaijani forces and 24 more servicemen were missing.

It said "the situation at the border's eastern sector was relatively calm and a ceasefire agreement was being respected" on Wednesday morning.

Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Tuesday accused Azerbaijan of "targeting Armenia's statehood, sovereignty, and independence."

Baku said Armenia was responsible for a "large-scale military provocation."

Armenia appealed to ally Russia for military support under the Collective Security Treaty Organisation pact, which obliges Moscow to protect it in the event of a foreign invasion.

A ceasefire was reached Tuesday evening following mediation by Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

The European Union, France, the United Nations, and the United States have called on both sides to de-escalate tensions.

Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and an ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.

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