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Russia hopes Armenia, Azerbaijan continue peace talks: Kremlin


Russia hopes that Armenia and Azerbaijan will continue their peace negotiations, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday, after reports of military flare-ups near the border of the two countries.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Armenian Defense Ministry said that four Armenian soldiers had been killed on the southern border by gunfire from Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan's authorities called it a "retaliation operation" in response to earlier provocations.

Azerbaijan's border service said that it would retaliate with "more serious and decisive measures" upon any future provocations.

The Armenian Ministry of Defense said in a Telegram statement that Azerbaijan's gunfire resulted in four killed in action and one wounded on the Armenian side.

"Such incidents, to say the least, do not contribute to the advancement of this negotiation process, but we hope that this process will be continued," Peskov said, adding that Russia's contacts with both sides will resume.

The spokesperson called the incidents "alarming news," and urged both sides to show restraint and steer clear of any further actions that could be perceived as provocative by the opposite side.

On Monday, the State News Agency of Azerbaijan AZERTAC, citing the country's border service, reported that an Azerbaijani border guard was wounded as a result of shelling from Armenia. Subsequently, Baku and Yerevan accused each other of shelling on the border.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at loggerheads over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. In December 2023, the two countries reached an agreement on taking confidence-building steps by releasing prisoners of war following their first-ever direct negotiations with no mediators involved.

(With input from Xinhua)

(Cover: A trench at a border checkpoint between Armenia and Azerbaijan near the village of Sotk, Armenia, June 18, 2021. /CFP)

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