Azerbaijan Captures Six Armenian Soldiers In Latest Border Incident

Azerbaijani forces have captured six Armenian servicemen amid growing border tensions between the two South Caucasus neighbors after last year’s war over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said the Armenian soldiers were seized in Azerbaijan’s Kalbacar district early on May 27 while they were laying mines on a road leading to Azerbaijani Army positions on the border.

However, the Armenian Defense Ministry said that its six soldiers were captured while carrying out engineering work in the border area of Armenia’s Gegharkunik region.

“Necessary measures are being taken to return the captured servicemen,” the ministry added.

Earlier this week, Yerevan and Baku blamed each other for border shoot-outs that Armenia said claimed the life of one of its soldiers.

Armenia had previously accused Azerbaijani troops of crossing several kilometers into its Syunik and Gegharkunik provinces and trying to stake a claim to territory. Azerbaijan insisted that its troops simply took up positions on the Azerbaijani side of the frontier that were not accessible in winter months.

The border tensions erupted months after the two South Caucasus neighbors ended a six-week war over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The conflict, which claimed at least 6,900 lives, ended in November with a Moscow-brokered cease-fire that saw Armenia ceding swaths of territory that ethnic Armenians had controlled for decades.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been controlled by ethnic Armenians since the early 1990s.