Sat, 09 Dec 2023

Six troops deployed by Moscow in Nagorno-Karabakh were killed this week, including five by Baku's troops, investigators said

Azerbaijani authorities are investigating two separate incidents that resulted in the deaths of Russian peacekeepers in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh amid Baku's military action this week.

In one case near the village of Janyatag, known as Chankatagh in Armenian, Azerbaijani troops attacked a vehicle used by Russian peacekeepers, killing five people, the office of the General Prosecutor of Azerbaijan said on Thursday.

The statement cited "difficult terrain and foggy-rainy weather" as factors that prevented the troops from properly identifying the car as belonging to peacekeepers.

The other incident involved "unidentified members of illegal Armenian formations" attacking a military truck in the same area, killing one Russian peacekeeper and injuring another, the report said. Both shootings took place on Wednesday, amid an Azerbaijani military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Prosecutor General's office said it contacted its Russian counterpart to express condolences and coordinate investigations into the crimes conducted by the two sides.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev called Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier in the day and offered compensation to the families of slain Russian troops.

Russian media outlets have cited sources saying Azerbaijani authorities had arrested several suspects. The leader of the unit which opened fire at Russian troops, was reportedly relieved from duty.

Nagorno-Karabakh split from Azerbaijan in the waning days of the USSR, with its predominantly ethnic Armenian population fighting a bloody war for independence in the 1990s. Russian peacekeepers were deployed in the region after the 2020 flare-up, which concluded with Baku reclaiming a large portion of the territory it had previously lost.

Armenia, which tacitly supported the self-proclaimed authorities of Nagorno-Karabakh, formally acknowledged Baku's sovereignty over the region last year, following border clashes between the two nations.


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