Following fresh exchanges of fire on its border with Azerbaijan, Armenia has said that three of its soldiers lost their lives.
According to the Armenian Defence Ministry in Yerevan, three soldiers were killed and two wounded during sustained shelling from the Azerbaijani side on Tuesday night.
The Defence Ministry in the Azerbaijani capital Baku meanwhile accused the Armenian side of provocations and misinformation. Two Azerbaijani soldiers were also injured, it announced.
While the skirmishes took place on Armenia’s tense border with Azerbaijan, the area is not, however, part of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, which caused the two countries to go to war last year, resulting in the deaths of over 6,500 people.
A Russian-brokered ceasefire, which came into effect on Wednesday morning, would be respected, the Defence Ministry in both countries announced.
The border situation between the two former Soviet republics in the South Caucasus has been tense for decades. Baku and Yerevan have repeatedly blamed each other for flare-ups in violence along the border in the past. The accusations made by both sides are impossible to verify independently.
The Foreign Ministry in Yerevan accused Baku of invading Armenian territory by invoking historical claims to the land. Under international law, Armenia has the right to defend its territorial integrity using force, it said, adding that the area in question had been “infiltrated” and repeatedly attacked since May.
Azerbaijan, for its part, called on Armenia to negotiate peacefully over the drawing of the hotly-disputed border between the two countries.
In a six-week war over the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh last year, Azerbaijan reclaimed large areas of territory it lost to Armenia in the early 1990s. Russia currently has around 2,000 peacekeeping troops in Nagorno-Karabakh, enforcing the ceasefire it brokered in the region.