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Lavrov Visits Armenia Amid Sporadic Firing Around Nagorno-Karabakh

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is heading to Armenia on April 21 amid a flare-up of violence between Armenian-backed separatists and Azerbaijani forces over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Lavrov is to hold talks on April 21 with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian.

A cease-fire halted four days of fierce fighting between Armenia-backed Karabakh separatists and Azerbaijani forces on April 5, but sporadic shooting still breaks out.

The breakaway region said one of its soldiers was killed by gunfire from Azerbaijan on April 21.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since the waning years of the Soviet Union.

Populated mainly by ethnic Armenians, the territory declared independence from Azerbaijan in a 1988-94 war that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Based on reporting by TASS, Reuters, and Interfax