One of Azerbaijan’s soldiers was killed in a clash with Armenian rebels on Monday, in an apparent intensification of hostilities that threatens to undermine a recent Russian-brokered ceasefire.
The ambush was carried out on Sunday by an unauthorized group of Armenian fighters in area next to the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to the defense ministry.
“As a result of the attack, a soldier of the Azerbaijan army… was killed,” it said, noting another serviceman was wounded but in a stable condition.
Azerbaijan and separatists backed by Armenia fought for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area for six weeks before a peace settlement brokered by Russia stopped the conflict in early November.
Before the peace deal, more than 6,000 people were murdered in the battle, which saw Armenia relinquish large swaths of territory it had controlled for decades to its longtime adversary.
Six Armenian fighters were killed in an attack near the village of Agdam, which Baku’s forces took in November, Azerbaijan announced on Monday.
If Armenian troops carry out more attacks, the defense ministry has promised to take “decisive measures.”
As part of the November agreement, a Russian peacekeeping force of roughly 2,000 soldiers was deployed to Karabakh.
One Russian soldier died during a mine-clearing operation earlier this month, according to the mission, but the ceasefire pact appears to be holding.
Azerbaijan announced earlier this month that at least six personnel had perished after the November 10 agreement.
In a battle that killed 30,000 people in the 1990s, separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan’s control.
No country, including Armenia, has recognized its claim of autonomy.