Azerbaijani forces kill Karabakh soldier

AZERBAIJANI troops on Tuesday killed an ethnic Armenian soldier in a fresh clash along the frontline with the breakaway Nagorny Karabakh region, separatist authorities said.

Karabakh soldier Suren Pilosian, 19, “was fatally wounded when the Azerbaijani army violated the ceasefire” along the region’s volatile frontier, the self-declared republic’s defence ministry said in a statement.

Azerbaijan is locked in a decades-long conflict with Armenia over the disputed Nagorny Karabakh region, an ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.

Last year saw an unprecedented spate of violence with the arch-foes regularly exchanging fire across their border and along the Karabakh frontline, sparking fears of a major escalation in the conflict.

Ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Yerevan seized control of the territory during a 1990s war that left some 30,000 dead, and no peace deal has yet been signed.

Baku, whose military spending exceeds Armenia’s entire state budget, has threatened to take back the region by force if negotiations fail to yield results. Armenia, which is heavily armed by Russia, says it could crush any offensive.

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