Azerbaijani Soldier Killed in New Karabakh Clash


Armenian troops on Thursday killed an Azerbaijani soldier, the defense ministry in Baku said, amid escalating tensions in the longstanding conflict over the disputed Nagorny Karabakh region.

Last week, Armenia threatened "grave consequences" after Azerbaijani forces shot down a helicopter belonging to the army of the breakaway ethnic Armenian region.

The new shooting comes amid major escalation in the Karabakh conflict since the beginning of the year with Azerbaijani and Armenian forces regularly exchanging fire across their border and along the Karabakh frontline.

An Azerbaijani army soldier, 19-year-old Rustam Azizov, "was killed on November 20 as a result of a ceasefire violation by Armenia," Baku said in a statement without giving further details.

In August, more than 20 troops were killed from both sides in the deadliest clashes since a ceasefire was agreed in 1994.

Armenia-backed separatists seized the mountainous region from Azerbaijan in a bitter war in the 1990s.

Despite years of negotiations, the two sides have not yet signed a final peace deal, with Karabakh still internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

Oil-rich Azerbaijan, whose military spending exceeds Armenia's entire state budget, has threatened to take back the region by force if negotiations do not yield results.

Armenia, which is heavily armed by Russia, says it could crush any offensive.

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