STEPANAKERT — An Azerbaijani soldier was killed in Nagorno-Karabakh at the weekend in what Karabakh Defense army described as a failed incursion on its frontline positions.

A statement by the Defense Army said an Azerbaijani commando squad “left behind one corpse in the no man’s land” after being repelled by its frontline troops deployed southeast of Karabakh on Sunday afternoon.

“The Defense Army suffered no losses. Details of the incident are being clarified,” the statement said, adding that the “sabotage incursion attempt” was filmed by the army’s surveillance cameras installed along the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Karabakh.

The Azerbaijani military on Monday confirmed a combat death within its ranks but denied launching any commando raids.

According to the Trend news agency, the Defense Ministry in Baku said that an Azerbaijani soldier, identified as Ramin Abdulrahmanov, was shot dead in front of Karabakh Armenian positions after accidentally “losing his way.” The ministry said it has asked the International Committee of the Red Cross to help recover his body.

The deadly incident occurred one day before a fresh meeting Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s foreign ministers due to be held in New York. The two ministers most recently met in Washington on June 20 in the presence of the U.S., Russian and French mediators co-heading the OSCE Minsk Group. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry described that meeting as “positive.”

It was the most serious Azerbaijani incursion attempt reported by the Karabakh army since five Azerbaijani soldiers were killed near Karabakh in February 2017 in an overnight incident caught on Armenian surveillance cameras. Their bodies lying in the no-man’s land were retrieved with the ICRC’s help.

Deadly ceasefire violations on the Karabakh frontlines and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border have decreased significantly since Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met for the first time in September 2018.

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