(TASS) Over the last 48 hours, the Azeri Army and Armenian forces have clashed in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, resulting in the death of several soldiers on both sides.
“The adversary is continuing to shell from high-caliber weapons and artillery guns the positions of Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces and settlements located in the immediate battle area,” the Azeri Ministry of Defense claimed on Saturday.
“On June 15, in an attempt to bring up short another provocation of Armenian armed units Azerbaijan’s army suffered casualties,” the ministry stated, noting that in retaliatory fire “on June 15 and 16, six soldiers of Armenian Armed Forces were eliminated,” some were wounded.
On Friday, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry reported one of its soldiers was killed by the Armenian forces.
History of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
The situation along the contact line of conflicting sides in Nagorno-Karabakh deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2, 2016 when fierce clashes began. The parties to the conflict accused each other of violating the truce. On April 5, a ceasefire agreement was reached with Russia’s mediation. Since then, the parties to the conflict have been reporting periodic exchanges of fire in the region.
In a trilateral statement adopted on June 20, 2016, following a summit of Russian, Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in St. Petersburg, the sides confirmed their commitment to the normalization of the situation along the disengagement line in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh (Mountainous Karabakh) is a mostly Armenian-populated enclave inside the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. It was the first zone of inter-ethnic tensions and violence to appear on the map of the former USSR.
Even almost a quarter of a century after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Karabakh remains a so-called ‘frozen conflict’ on the post-Soviet space, as the region is the subject of a dispute between Azerbaijan and the local Armenian population that draws on strong support from fellow-countrymen in neighboring Armenia.