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Azeri Soldier Killed by Armenian Forces Near Breakaway Region

An Azeri soldier was killed last night in a firefight with Armenian troops on the militarized cease-fire line between the two former Soviet republics.

The officer was killed in fighting “rebel forces” near the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Teymur Abdullayev, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said in a telephone interview from the capital, Baku.

Oil-rich Azerbaijan fought a war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, a majority Armenian-populated enclave that broke free of Baku’s control following the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. The territory remains a potential flash point in a region where Russia fought a five-day war with Georgia in 2008 after separatist tensions flared up over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

While the hostilities largely ended after a Russia-brokered cease-fire in 1994, the countries have failed to reach a peace agreement.

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