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23 Nov 2020 | 04:07 PM UTC

Armenia: Landmine explosion causes casualties in Tartar district (Azerbaijan) November 23 /update 32

Landmine explosion causes casualties in Tartar district (Azerbaijan) on November 23; further similar incidents expected in the medium term

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Event

A landmine explosion in Tartar district (Azerbaijan) killed an Azerbaijani officer and lightly injured several officials from the self-proclaimed Artsakh Republic on Monday, November 23. A Russian peacekeeper was also injured in the blast and is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Baku. The group was searching the area for missing Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers following the declaration of a truce in the conflict over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. Hundreds of soldiers on either side remain missing and are presumed to have died during the fighting.

Similar incidents are possible in and around Nagorno-Karabakh over the near term.

Context

Armenia and neighboring Azerbaijan have a long-standing dispute over the possession of Nagorno-Karabakh, home to some 150,000 inhabitants (mostly ethnic Armenians) and located in the west of Azerbaijan. This issue has fuelled tensions between the two countries since 1988; with some 30,000 people being killed in fighting from 1990 to 1994. The two countries declared another ceasefire in April 2016 after the region experienced four days of violent clashes that left hundreds dead.

The latest hostilities erupted in late September and left an estimated 4000 people dead. A ceasefire was signed on November 10, with the self-proclaimed Artsakh Republic to hand over large areas of territory to Azerbaijan. Russian peacekeepers have been deployed along the line of contact to monitor the truce.

Advice

Western governments generally advise their citizens against all travel to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijan-Armenia border. Those in Armenia are advised to monitor developments and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.

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