Azeri forces capture six Armenian soldiers as border tensions simmer

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Azerbaijan captured six Armenian servicemen in the early hours of Thursday morning, the defence ministries of both countries said, the latest twist in a simmering border dispute.

The Azeri defence ministry accused the Armenian soldiers of trying to cross into Azeri territory. Armenia’s defence ministry said its soldiers had been carrying out engineering work in the border area of its eastern Gegharkunik region, which neighbours Azerbaijan.

“Necessary measures are being taken to return the captured servicemen,” Armenia’s defence ministry said.

Armenia earlier this month accused Azerbaijan of sending troops across the border, highlighting the fragility of a Russian-brokered ceasefire that halted six weeks of fighting between ethnic Armenian forces and the Azeri army last year.

That conflict saw Baku drive ethnic Armenian forces out of swathes of territory they had controlled since the 1990s in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Azerbaijan on Tuesday denied accusations by Armenia that it had fired across the border at Armenian positions, in a shootout in which Armenia said one of its soldiers had been killed.

Photo: A still image taken from a a handout video footage made available 09 October 2020 by the Azebaijani Defence Ministry on its official website shows Azeri servicemen with an Azerbaijani flag in Jabrayil district in Azerbaijan after the Azerbaijani Army took it under control. EPA-EFE/AZERBAIJAN DEFENCE MINISTRY