Azerbaijani troops killed in clashes with Armenia

At least seven dead as two countries' forces engage in worst fighting since going to war last year

Azerbaijani soldiers take part in a procession marking the anniversary of the end of the 2020 military conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh breakaway region, involving Azerbaijan's troops and ethnic Armenian forces, in Baku this month. Reuters
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Seven Azerbaijani troops have been killed in border clashes with Armenia near the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, officials in Baku said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Armenian and Azerbaijani forces engaged in their worst clashes since going to war last year over the long-disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The six-week conflict, in which more than 6,500 people were killed, ended last November in a Russia-mediated deal that led Armenia to cede territory it had controlled for decades.

The fighting on Tuesday along the Caucasus neighbours' shared border sparked fears of another flare-up in their territorial dispute.

"Seven servicemen died and 10 more were wounded in the clashes provoked on Tuesday by Armenia," Baku's Defence Ministry said. The situation at the border "stabilised on Tuesday evening", it said.

Armenia's Defence Ministry said one Armenian soldier was killed, 13 were captured by Azerbaijani forces and 24 more were missing.

It said "the situation at the border's eastern sector was relatively calm and a ceasefire agreement was being respected" on Wednesday morning.

Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Tuesday accused Azerbaijan of "targeting Armenia's statehood, sovereignty, and independence".

Baku said Armenia was responsible for a "large-scale military provocation".

Armenia appealed to ally Russia for military support under the Collective Security Treaty Organisation pact, which obliges Moscow to protect it in the event of a foreign invasion.

A ceasefire was reached on Tuesday evening after mediation by Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.

The EU, France, the UN, and the US have called on both sides to de-escalate tension.

Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and about 30,000 people were killed in an ensuing conflict.

Updated: November 17, 2021, 11:26 AM