Azerbaijan Says 3 Soldiers Killed Near Karabakh

BAKU (RFE/RL)–Three Azeri soldiers have been killed and one wounded since Friday in incidents near Nagorno-Karabakh, the Azeri Defense Ministry said on Monday.

Two were killed by a landmine on Friday. Another died and one was wounded in weekend clashes with Armenian soldiers over their tense front line.

"As a result of violations of the ceasefire by the Armenian side, from February 19 to 22 three Azeri soldiers died," an Azeri Defense Ministry spokesman told Reuters. Azeri ANS television reported four had died and one was wounded.

Nagorno-Karabakh’s authorities reported "ceasefire violations", including sniper fire, through Saturday, saying its soldiers had been forced to return fire. There were no Armenian casualties.

International mediators from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said last month they hoped for an accord between Caucasus neighbors Armenia and Azerbaijan in the near future. Analysts say last year’s war between Russia and Georgia, when Russia repelled a Georgian assault on breakaway South Ossetia, has lent fresh impetus to mediation efforts on Nagorno-Karabakh.

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