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Two Armenian Troops Killed In Latest Shoot-Out Along Azerbaijani Border

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An Armenian soldier stands watch on the frontier.

Armenia says clashes along the border with Azerbaijan have left two of its troops dead as tensions continue to simmer between the two countries after last year's war over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said a skirmish that left one military officer dead took place on August 16, claiming Azerbaijani forces "provoked" the Armenians when they tried to advance their positions inside Armenian territory at the Yeraskh section of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan's Naxcivan exclave, which is sandwiched between Armenia and Iran.

The ministry added that a day earlier its forces managed to repel Azerbaijani military units that allegedly also tried to enter Armenian territory at the Sevlich section of Armenia's Syunik region, and that one Azerbaijani soldier was killed.

According to the ministry, Azerbaijan "attempted another provocation" on the evening of August 16, opening fire and claiming the life of another Armenian soldier.

"This was the second Armenian soldier to die during this day," the ministry said, adding that the Azerbaijani side had also suffered losses.

Referring to the incidents, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said in a statement that the clashes were started by the Armenian side and denied any casualties among its military personnel.

In a separate statement, the Azerbaijani ministry alleged that Armenian forces also opened fire on positions in the Kalbacar district and the city of Susa.

Long-running tensions between the two South Caucasus states turned to war last year over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but had been controlled by ethnic Armenians since the early 1990s.

Some 6,000 people were killed in six weeks of fighting that ended in a Moscow-brokered cease-fire deal.

Under the accord, a chunk of Nagorno-Karabakh and all seven districts around it were placed under Azerbaijani administration.

The agreement also resulted in the deployment of around 2,000 Russian peacekeepers, and provided for an exchange of POWs and other detainees.

Several prisoner exchanges have since taken place.

On August 14, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in an interview with CNN Turk television that his country did not want a new war with Armenia, as Baku has accomplished "its historic mission."

Last week, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said Yerevan was ready to resume talks with Baku on resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and expects specific proposals from the OSCE Minsk Group, consisting of Armenia, Azerbaijan, France, Russia, and the United States.

With reporting by CNN Turk and RFE/RL's Armenian and Azerbaijani services
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