Russia has reportedly lost four peacekeepers in clashes between Armenia ethnic forces and Azerbaijan troops in Nagorno Karabakh.
Among the Russian casualties is believed to be Captain Ivan Korgan, who not only held the position of deputy commander for the peacekeeping force but also served as the deputy commander for Russia’s Northern submarine fleet forces.
Clashes have been reported in the contested enclave despite a Russian-brokered ceasefire.
On Wednesday, the Russian Defence Ministry confirmed the deaths of several of its peacekeepers, but did not specify the number of casualties or whether they occurred before or after the start of the cease-fire.
Representatives from Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijani government met on Thursday to discuss the future of the disputed province.
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On September 20, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that a vehicle carrying Russian peacekeepers, as they were returning from the Janyatag (Chankatah) observation point, came under gunfire from small arms.
The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense conveyed its condolences regarding the peacekeepers’ tragic deaths and reported that both Azerbaijani and Russian investigative authorities are actively looking into the incident.
Azerbaijan claims complete control of Nagorno-Karabakh, following a recent military incursion.
While Azerbaijan’s state news agency reported the talks had ended, it did not say whether an agreement had been reached.
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Earlier, Nagorno-Karabakh authorities and the same news agency reported that conversations between regional leaders and the Azerbaijani government would focus on Nagorno-Karabakh’s “reintegration” into Azerbaijan.
These negotiations in Yevlakh, Azerbaijan, came after an outbreak of hostilities earlier in the week, during which local Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh promised to disband.
On Tuesday, the Azerbaijani army launched an artillery bombardment and drone attacks on outnumbered and underequipped pro-Armenian forces.
These forces were operating in a region of the southern Caucasus Mountains that is recognised internationally as part of Azerbaijan.
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According to Gegham Stepanyan, the ombudsman for human rights in Nagorno-Karabakh, the violence has killed at least 200 people, including 10 civilians, and injured over 400 more.
Earlier reports indicated that children were among those who died or were injured.
These casualty estimates have yet to be independently confirmed.
The recent fighting has exacerbated an already grave humanitarian situation for people in the region, who have been suffering from food and medicine shortages for several months as a result of Azerbaijan’s blockage of the road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
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