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Leaders Of Breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh Reject Azerbaijani Claims Of Deadly Attack


Azerbaijani soldiers march in formation on December 10 during a military parade marking the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh military conflict.

Azerbaijan says one of its servicemen has been killed and another wounded in an attack by ethnic Armenian fighters in Nagorno-Karabakh, a claim dismissed by the breakaway region's de facto authorities.

The country's Defense Ministry said on December 28 that six members of “an illegal Armenian armed group" attacked an Azerbaijani military unit in the village of Agdam in the Khojavend district the previous day, adding that all of the attackers were killed.

The ministry vowed to take "decisive measures" if similar attacks were carried out.

The ethnic Armenian military in Nagorno-Karabakh rejected the report as a “propaganda provocation,” saying it was “strictly observing” last month’s cease-fire that brought an end to six weeks of fighting over the region.

The Armenian Defense Ministry earlier denied media reports of fighting in the south of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Moscow-brokered truce took effect on November 10, placing a chunk of Nagorno-Karabakh and all seven districts around it -- including Khojavend -- under Azerbaijani administration after almost 30 years of control by Armenians.

Most of the Khojavend district had been captured by the Azerbaijani Army during the war.

On December 12, new clashes were reported in the south of Nagorno-Karabakh, with Armenia and Azerbaijan accusing each other of breaching the cease-fire.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but the ethnic Armenians who make up most of the region's population reject Azerbaijani rule.

They had been governing their own affairs, with support from Armenia, since Azerbaijan's troops and Azeri civilians were pushed out of the region and seven adjacent districts in a war that ended in a cease-fire in 1994.