YEREVAN — Two Armenian soldiers were killed in heavy fighting that broke out on Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan on Tuesday.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said Azerbaijani forces opened fire late in the afternoon at its positions in Armenia’s Gegharkunik province bordering the Kelbajar district west of Nagorno-Karabakh. The positions were shelled and attacked with combat drones later in the day, the ministry said in a statement.

“The Armenian side took proportionate actions,” it said. “The exchange of gunfire was continuing as of 6 p.m. [local time.]”

Two Armenian soldiers, Artur Mkhitarian and Rudik Gharibian, were killed and two others wounded in the fighting, the ministry said in another statement released later in the evening. It said the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border is now “relatively stable.”

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry reported, meanwhile, that Armenian troops shot and killed an Azerbaijani soldier at a Kelbajar section of the border.

A local official in Gegharkunik reported an exchange of gunfire in the same border area on Saturday. The Armenian military did not officially confirm that information.

Tensions in the area have run high since Azerbaijani forces advanced a few kilometers into Armenian territory last May. Yerevan has repeatedly demanded their withdrawal. Baku maintains that its troops took up positions on the Azerbaijani side of the frontier.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry said the latest ceasefire violations there are “yet another manifestation of Azerbaijan’s continuing infringements of Armenia’s territorial integrity that began on May 12, 2021.”

The situation on the border was on the agenda of Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan’s phone call on Tuesday with Karen Donfried, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs.

The Foreign Ministry said Mirzoyan briefed Donfried on “recent days’ ceasefire violations by the Azerbaijani armed forces” and stressed the need for “steps to de-escalate the situation.”

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