Russia concerned over growing tensions on Armenian – Azerbaijani border

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YEREVAN, August 2 /ARKA/. Russia is concerned over the growing tensions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, resulting in the death of an Armenian soldier; there are also wounded soldiers on both sides, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a weekly press briefing on Thursday.

On July 27 and 28, Azerbaijani troops fired at Armenian positions on the northeastern section of the state border with the assistance of snipers, as a result of which a soldier of the Armenian Armed Forces Armen Bulghadaryan was killed and two others were wounded. The Armenian Foreign Ministry condemned the violation of the cease-fire regime, but the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs have not reacted to the incident so far.

“The growth of tension goes against the recent agreement on the observance of the cease-fire regime and the stated intentions of the sides to reach a settlement (of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict) by political means,” Zakharova said.

Zakharova said Russia believes that further escalation of tension is unacceptable and calls on the sides to the conflict to show restraint, to renounce the use of force and to take measures to stabilize the situation.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted into armed clashes after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s as the predominantly Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan sought to secede from Azerbaijan and declared its independence backed by a successful referendum.

On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations. A truce was brokered by Russia in 1994, although no permanent peace agreement has been signed. Since then, Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent regions have been under the control of Armenian forces of Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh is the longest-running post-Soviet era conflict and has continued to simmer despite the relative peace of the past two decades, with snipers causing tens of deaths a year.

On April 2, 2016, Azerbaijan launched military assaults along the entire perimeter of its contact line with Nagorno-Karabakh. Four days later a cease-fire was reached.

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