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Separatist Region Claims Soldier Killed In Azerbaijani Raid

Officials in Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh say Azerbaijani forces killed one of its soldiers.

Nagorno-Karabakh's de-facto Defense Ministry has issued a statement saying the soldier, Armen Hovannissian, died from gunshot wounds after a clash with an "Azerbaijani subversive intelligence party" trying to cross into the territory early on January 20.

Armenia-backed separatists seized Nagorno-Karabakh and several districts around it from Azerbaijan in a war that killed 30,000 people in the 1990s.

Diplomatic efforts to settle the conflict since then have brought no results.

Azerbaijan has threatened to take back the Armenian-populated breakaway region by force if negotiations do not yield results, while Armenia has vowed to retaliate against any military action.

Around 20 soldiers from both sides were reportedly killed last year.

Based on reporting by Interfax and AFP

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