Armenian officer killed as tension continues

Armenian officer killed as tension continues

YEREVAN - Agence France-Presse
Azerbaijani forces killed an Armenian soldier on Sept. 25 on the border between the two states, the Defense Ministry in Yerevan said.

“Serviceman Vaghinak Baghdasarian was killed by enemy fire,” a brief defense ministry statement said without giving further details. The soldier was the 15th reported killed this year amid clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops along their border and on the frontline in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Tension between Yerevan and Baku is already high over Baku’s pardoning of an extradited Azerbaijani soldier who had hacked an Armenian to death.

Ramil Safarov, who had been incarcerated since 2004 in Hungary, where he murdered an Armenian counterpart at a NATO event, was treated as a hero upon his return and made a major. Yerevan reacted furiously to the pardon and strongly condemned Baku, with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan saying “making a hero out of a criminal is unacceptable” and accusing Azerbaijan of endangering the region’s fragile peace.

Armenia-backed separatists seized Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan in a war in the 1990s that left some 30,000 dead, and no final peace deal has been signed since the cease-fire.

Azerbaijan has threatened to take back the disputed region by force if negotiations do not yield results, while Armenia has vowed massive retaliation against any military action.