Azerbaijan, Armenia exchange blame after deadly border skirmish

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Armenia and Azerbaijan connected Tuesday traded accusations complete a border skirmish that near astatine slightest 4 Armenian soldiers dormant and escalated tensions betwixt nan 2 Caucasus neighbors.

Armenia's Foreign Ministry denounced what it described arsenic a "provocation" by Azerbaijani troops who fired connected Armenian forces crossed nan separator successful nan eastbound Syunik region early Tuesday. Four Armenian soldiers were killed and 1 was wounded, nan ministry said. It urged Azerbaijan to refrain from "destabilizing" actions.

Azerbaijan's State Border Service said it had fired connected an Armenian station successful retaliation for Armenian shelling of Azerbaijani positions that wounded 1 Azerbaijani work personnel nan erstwhile day.

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"Any provocations by nan Armenian broadside aimed astatine escalating tensions on nan Azerbaijan-Armenia separator will now beryllium met pinch moreover much superior and decisive measures," nan State Border Service said successful a statement. "The military-political activity of Armenia bears afloat work for these developments."

Armenia and Azerbaijan person a agelong history of onshore disputes. Azerbaijan waged a lightning subject run past twelvemonth to reclaim nan Karabakh region, which Armenian separatists had ruled for 3 decades.

The region, which was known internationally arsenic Nagorno-Karabakh, and ample swaths of surrounding territory came nether afloat power of taste Armenian forces backed by Armenia astatine nan extremity of a separatist war successful 1994.

Azerbaijan regained parts of Karabakh and astir of nan surrounding territory successful a six-week warfare successful 2020. It past launched a blitz successful September that routed nan separatist forces successful 1 time and forced them to laic down arms. More than 100,000 taste Armenians fled nan region successful nan pursuing days, leaving it astir deserted.

With governmental momentum from nan successful subject operation, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev past week won different word pinch 92% of nan ballot successful a threat election.

Armenia and Azerbaijan person pledged to activity toward signing a bid treaty, but nary visible advancement has been made, and tensions person continued to soar amid communal distrust.

Armenia's Foreign Ministry cited nan latest skirmish to impeach Azerbaijan of "searching for pretexts for escalation" and trying to derail bid efforts.