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Armenia reports 1 dead, 8 wounded in clashes with Azerbaijan

December 10, 2021 GMT

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — The Armenian military reported Friday that one of its soldiers was killed and eight more were wounded in yet another clash with Azerbaijani forces on the border between the two countries, where tensions have simmered for months.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry blamed the casualty on “aggressive actions” by Azerbaijan’s troops, alleging they attacked Armenian positions on the eastern section of the border. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, in turn, claimed Armenian forces opened fire first.

Both countries reported a similar clash on Thursday, with Azerbaijan reporting one casualty and Armenia saying two of its troops sustained injuries.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a decades-old dispute over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which lies within Azerbaijan but was under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994.

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Moscow brokered a November 2020 peace deal to end six weeks of fighting, during which more than 6,600 people were killed. The Russia-brokered truce allowed Azerbaijan to reclaim control over large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas that the Armenia-backed separatists controlled.

Tensions on the two nations’ shared border have been building since May, when Armenia protested what it described as an incursion by Azerbaijani troops into its territory. Azerbaijan has insisted that its soldiers were deployed to what it considers its territory in areas where the border has yet to be demarcated. Clashes have been reported ever since.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan for talks in Sochi. After the meeting, Putin said the three leaders agreed to create by the end of the year mechanisms for establishing the boundaries between the two countries.