STEPANAKERT (Combined Sources)–One Armenian soldier was shot dead on Friday in continuing skirmishes along the main line of contact separating Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, RFE/RL’s Armenia Service reported.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s Defense Ministry issued a statement Friday saying the slain soldier was Andranik Sargsyan, a 20-year old conscript, who was fatally wounded in the northeastern section of the frontline in a ceasefire violation by Azeri forces, ArmRadio reported.
Karabakh’s northern Martakert region saw deadly fighting earlier this month, when at least four Azerbaijani soldiers were killed there after failing to overtake Karabakh defense outposts along the line of contact. The same section of the frontline was also the scene of another serious skirmish in early June, when Azeri forces launched an attack killing four Karabakh soldiers.
The cease-fire violations were strongly condemned by the US, Russian, and French diplomats mediating a resolution to the Karabakh conflict.
According to the Itar-Tass news agency, the recent wave of violations were discussed by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and visiting Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov during talks in the Pentagon on Wednesday. A Pentagon spokesman was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying that Gates expressed concern and stressed the need to strengthen the ceasefire regime and prevent more violence.