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Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of overnight shooting, Yerevan denies firing

Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of overnight shooting, Yerevan denies firing
By Reuters
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BAKU -Azerbaijan said on Friday that one of its soldiers was wounded when Azeri positions came under fire overnight from Armenian forces, an accusation denied by Armenia amid a border row between the former Soviet countries.

In a statement, the Azeri defence ministry said Armenian forces had fired from several directions at its positions in Nakhchivan, an Azeri enclave separated from the rest of Azerbaijan by Armenian territory.

The wounded soldier was taken to hospital, it said.

Armenia's defence ministry denied Baku's assertion, the TASS news agency reported.

The Azeri allegations came as Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu held talks with his Armenian counterpart Vagharshak Harutyunyan in Moscow. He said Russia planned to boost its military cooperation with Armenia.

Russia, which has a mutual defence pact with Armenia and a military base there, sent peacekeepers to secure a ceasefire in November after Azeri troops drove ethnic Armenian forces out of territory in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

"We are strengthening our military cooperation both on the bilateral level and as part of international structures, most of all the Collective Security Treaty Organization," the Interfax news agency quoted Shoigu as saying.

The talks took place a day after Azerbaijan captured six Armenian servicemen, prompting Armenia's acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to call for international observers from Russia or other countries to be deployed to a portion of Armenia's border with Azerbaijan.

In six weeks of fighting last September to November, Azeri troops drove ethnic Armenian forces out of swathes of territory they had controlled since the 1990s in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, before the Russian-brokered ceasefire.

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