At least three soldiers were killed in fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in disputed territory that’s overseen by Russian peacekeeping troops as part of a truce deal that halted a 2020 war.
Two Armenian serviceman died and 14 were wounded when Azerbaijani troops fired grenade-launchers and used attack drones, the defense army of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic said Wednesday. One Azerbaijani soldier died when units came under intense fire from “illegal Armenian armed formations,” the Defense Ministry in Baku said in a statement.
The fighting took place in the Lachin corridor, a strip of land connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia through Azerbaijan that’s patrolled by Russian peacekeeping forces, and in the enclave’s northeast. As many as 2,000 Russian troops were sent to the area under the agreement brokered by President Vladimir Putin to end the 44-day war that killed thousands in late 2020.
Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh later said Russian peacekeepers had helped to stabilize the situation after Wednesday’s clashes. Still, the breakaway region’s leader announced a partial mobilization.
Azerbaijan took over part of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is mostly populated by Armenians but internationally recognized as part of its territory, during the war and reclaimed seven surrounding districts that it lost in an early 1990s conflict.
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While they have agreed to work on defining their state border and to open transport routes between their countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan have yet to reach a peace agreement to end the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh that began as the Soviet Union was collapsing more than three decades ago. The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers held their first direct talks last month in Georgia.
— With assistance by Zulfugar Agayev, and Sara Khojoyan
(Updates with death toll in first paragraph, mobilization announcement in fourth.)