YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–A Russian border guard was killed by a Turkish border guard after crossing a river at the Armenian-Turkish border on Sunday. Turkish border guard shot at the Russian soldier eight times. Russian and Turkish sides have launched an investigation into the incident.
Russian border guarding troops stationed in Armenia have lodged an official protest with the Turkish authorities over the death of their serviceman. A senior Russian military commander told RFE/RL that Sergeant Nikolay Yablitsev was shot dead after being lured into Turkish territory from his post on the Armenian side of the border. General Mikhail Naymilo condemned the shooting as a "barbaric murder" that violated international conventions.
Earlier in the day–AFP news agency quoted Turkish officials as saying that an unknown man who crossed the Arax River marking the border between Turkey and Armenia was gunned down after he ignored verbal orders to stop and warning shots. They said the incident occurred close to the town of Karakoyunlu in the eastern Turkish province of Igdir. But Naymilo claimed that the Russian border guard was on duty when Turkish soldiers "invited him to have a smoke" from the other bank of the river. He said Yablitsev received seven fatal bullet wounds after leaving his post. He said the two sides have agreed to conduct a joint investigation into the incident.
Armenia guards its border with Turkey jointly with Russian troops. Serious incidents along the frontier–which Ankara has kept closed since 1993–are rare.