Yerevan, Baku Dispute Circumstances After Armenian Conscript Shot Near Border

Armenia's Defense Ministry says that one of its conscripts was shot and killed at a combat post this week in the eastern part of the country's mutual border with Azerbaijan.

It cited initial indications on September 5 that the 20-year-old soldier was killed by Azerbaijani forces.

The two Caucasus foes have been in a tense standoff in many areas since an intense six-week conflict ended in November 2020 with a Russian-mediated cease-fire that left wide swaths of Azerbaijani territory long held by ethnic Armenians back in Azerbaijani hands.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry disputed that account on September 6, saying the Armenian report was a "lie" and its units hadn't fired on the border region.

It accused Armenian forces of recently firing intensively across the border.

Armenian and Azerbaijani officials have been working with Russian mediators on border delimitations and other aspects of relations between the post-Soviet regional rivals, who fought a bloody war for control of the region of Nagorno-Karabakh in 1988-94.

The EU executive has held four rounds of trilateral talks with senior Azerbaijani and Armenian officials aimed at furthering peace efforts and reestablishing transport links and borders as well as freeing wartime detainees.

In early August, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken personally engaged Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev “to urge de-escalation and direct contacts to reduce tensions.”