Armenia accuses Azerbaijani troops of killing soldier along border

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Armenian officials on Thursday accused Azerbaijani troops of opening fire and killing an Armenian soldier along the volatile border between the two Caucasus neighbors locked in a decades-long territorial dispute.

Armenia’s Investigative Committee said an Armenian soldier “was fatally wounded when Azerbaijani troops opened fire in Eraskh” in the southeast part of the border on Wednesday.

Baku and Yerevan went to war twice - in the 1990s and most recently in 2020 - over Azerbaijan’s Armenian-majority breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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Occasional shootouts have broken out along the countries’ shared border since a Russian-brokered ceasefire ended their latest fighting in autumn 2020.

On March 15, Azerbaijan accused Armenia of opening fire on its army positions along the border and in Karabakh.

Last week, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan warned against a “very high risk of escalation” in Karabakh. Armenia has also accused Russian peacekeepers of failing to protect ethnic Armenians living in the restive region.

The European Union last month deployed an expanded monitoring mission to the Armenian side of the border as Western engagement grows in a region that is traditionally the Kremlin’s sphere of influence.

Under the 2020 ceasefire agreement, Yerevan ceded to Baku swathes of territory it had controlled for decades.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, ethnic Armenian separatists in Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan. The ensuing conflict claimed some 30,000 lives.

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