Azerbaijan’s retaliatory fire kills 4 Armenian soldiers

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In response to the injury of an Azerbaijani soldier stationed at the border due to gunfire from Armenia, Azerbaijan has carried out a retaliatory fire, with the Armenian Defense Ministry unveiling that its four soldiers were killed.

According to statements from the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry and border security authorities, in the operation against Armenia’s “provocation” on Feb. 12, the position from which Azerbaijani soldiers were fired upon was completely destroyed.

The announcements emphasized that future provocations from the Armenian side would be met with more serious and decisive measures.

Armenia denied the allegation, saying the claim “does not align with reality.”

“Four were killed and one injured as a result of fire on Armenian positions from Azerbaijani troops,” the Armenian ministry said in a statement.

The fighting occurred near the village of Nerkin Hand in the southern region of Siunik.

Russia – which used to be the main mediator of the conflict but has in recent years been bogged down by its Ukraine invasion – urged calm and called the violence “worrying.”

“We call on both sides to show restraint to avoid any acts that the opposite side could see as provocative,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

Armenia has distanced itself from its historic ally Russia since Azerbaijan’s offensive, with Yerevan angry that Moscow’s peacekeeping force in Karabakh did not act during Azerbaijan’s recapture.

Baku has denied having territorial claims to Armenia after having regained Karabakh and ruled out a fresh conflict with Yerevan.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan proposed last month to Azerbaijan to sign a non-aggression pact, pending a comprehensive peace treaty between the neighbors.

Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev had previously said a peace agreement could have been signed by the end of last year.

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