Karabakh: Armenian soldier killed in fresh ceasefire violation

Photo: Photolure

An Armenian soldier was killed in the Karabakh conflict zone early on Thursday in what the Defense Army described as an “aggressive action” launched by the Azerbaijani armed forces.

The incident in which 32-year-old Marat Danielyan was fatally wounded reportedly took place in the northern directions of the line of contact (Talish) at around 6:30 am.

According to the Karabakh Defense Ministry, the Azerbaijani side, which used mortars and grenade-launchers in shelling Armenian positions in several directions overnight, “continued to destabilize the situation with its provocative actions” also in the afternoon.

The Armenian and Azerbaijani sides verbally agreed on maintaining a ceasefire regime on April 5 after four days of heavy fighting in which scores were killed and wounded on both sides.

The latest Armenian fatality in Karabakh comes amid a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Yerevan apparently aimed at presenting a new settlement plan. Russian media have speculated over this week that the peace proposal may imply some territorial concessions from the Armenian side in exchange for an intermediate status for Karabakh and an opportunity of holding a referendum on the final status in the future as well as the deployment of a peacekeeping force, apparently a Russian or Russian-led one.

If accepted, such a peace plan is likely to provoke protests in Armenia where dozens of activists already plan a demonstration against Russia’s purported pro-Azerbaijani position during Lavrov’s visit.

Talking RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Wednesday, Armen Ashotyan, a deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia in charge of foreign relations, said, however, that the Karabakh conflict is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon as he made it clear that Russia cannot unilaterally impose any peace accords on the conflicting parties without the backing of the two other mediating power – the United States and France.

“The four-day war [in Karabakh] reaffirmed Russia’s geopolitical influence in the region… But the fact is that the [OSCE] Minsk Group and especially two of its three co-chairs, France and the United States, would never agree to any variant of the conflict’s settlement what would solely stem from Russia’s vision,” he said.