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Azerbaijani Soldier Killed In Skirmish Amid Ongoing Diplomacy On Nagorno-Karabakh


An Azerbaijani soldier takes a position in Nagorno-Karabakh.

YEREVAN -- One Azerbaijani soldier has been killed and six Armenian servicemen wounded in Nagorno-Karabakh in skirmishes reported late on October 14.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said that the soldier was killed by Armenian sniper fire.

In a statement, ethnic Armenian forces denied responsibility for his death, reporting later in the evening that six of its soldiers at an outpost in Karabakh's east were wounded after coming under Azerbaijani fire.

The statement added that Russian peacekeeping forces deployed in the region were immediately alerted about the truce violation denied by the Azerbaijani side.

Nagorno-Karabakh official Artak Beglarian said shortly after midnight that shooting broke out at several other sections of the "line of contact" around Karabakh.

"The situation has now stabilized along the entire line of contact," Beglarian wrote on Facebook. "The military and political leadership of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) is taking urgent steps to further stabilize the situation, making necessary decisions and communicating with relevant parties."

The official also said that although two of the wounded ethnic Armenian soldiers were in serious condition, their lives were not at risk.

The skirmishes were among the most serious violations of a cease-fire agreement that Russia brokered in November 2020 to stop the Armenian-Azerbaijani war over the disputed territory that left more than 6,600 people dead.

The region is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but had been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces since the end of a separatist war the early 1990s.

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met on October 14 for the second time in less than a month for talks mediated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

They also held separate talks with Lavrov on the sidelines of a gathering in Minsk of top diplomats from a dozen ex-Soviet states.

"We spoke at length in Moscow recently but can today look at some additional issues of both bilateral character and of course the region," Lavrov told Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry. "Karabakh must always receive our attention."

Speaking with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Ceyhun Bayramov, he cited unspecified "issues that need to be resolved."

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that at their trilateral meeting the ministers "reviewed" the implementation of a Russian-brokered agreement that stopped the war.

"They concluded that most provisions of that statement are being successfully implemented. They agreed to intensify work on the remaining issues," it said without elaborating.

Mirzoyan was cited by his press office as saying that Baku continues to hold dozens of Armenian prisoners of war and civilian captives in breach of the truce accord.

He also reaffirmed Yerevan's stated commitment to a "comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh" dispute advanced by the U.S., Russian, and French co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The three mediators took part in Mirzoyan's first meeting with Bayramov held in New York on September 24. In a joint statement, they said they “proposed specific focused measures to de-escalate the situation and possible next steps.” They did not disclose the proposals.

The mediators are expected to visit Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Karabakh soon. It will be their first tour of the conflict zone since the 2020 war.

Karabakh was on the agenda during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian held in Moscow on October 12. Pashinian described the meeting as "very productive" but did not give details.

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