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Armenia Claims Soldier Killed By Azerbaijani Sniper Near Border

YEREVAN -- Yerevan has accused Azerbaijani snipers of opening fire on Armenian military positions near the border, the latest in a series of deadly incidents between the two neighbors since they fought a six-week war over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region last year.

The Armenian Defense Ministry alleged a junior sergeant, identified as Gegham Sahakian, sustained a fatal gunshot wound when Azerbaijani snipers opened fired in the Yeraskh section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on September 1.

The ministry “strongly condemns the actions of the Azerbaijani side and warns that they will not go unanswered,” it said in a statement on its website.

There was no immediate comment from Azerbaijani officials on the claims, but both sides have accused each other of causing incidents at border areas in recent weeks.

Sahakian is the 10th Armenian soldier to have been reported killed by Azerbaijani fire since a Russian-brokered cease-fire agreement signed between Yerevan and Baku put an end to a 44-day war over Nagorno-Karabakh in early November 2020.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but the territory and the surrounding districts came under the control of ethnic Armenians during a 1992-94 war.

The two sides have skirmished regularly over the years, and in September 2020 Azerbaijan launched a military offensive that resulted in Baku regaining control of much of these territories and in Russia deploying 2,000 peacekeeping troops to the conflict zone.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said last month that a total of 3,773 Armenian servicemen were killed during the latest fighting, while Azerbaijan has reported 2,783 fatalities.