YEREVAN — An Armenian soldier serving on the border with Azerbaijan was shot dead on Monday in s an Azerbaijani ceasefire violation aimed at torpedoing peace talks.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry said the soldier, Gerasim Arakelyan, was fatally wounded by sniper fire at an Armenian army post near the village of Bardzruni bordering Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave.

The head of the Bardzruni administration, Arsen Aleksanyan, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that local residents heard the sounds of cross-border gunfire. Serious truce violations at that section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border have been rare until now.

Armenian Foreign Ministry condemned Baku’s aggressive actions as aiming to provoking new escalation

“We strongly condemn these actions of the Azerbaijani side aimed at provoking a new escalation, dragging out the peace process and bringing it to a dead end,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on the deadly incident.

The statement also said that Baku is “continuously rejecting offers from various international actors to continue negotiations” with Yerevan.

Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan deplored Baku’s “refusal to come to meetings organized by various international actors, including the U.S. and the EU” when he addressed last week an annual conference of the top diplomats of OSCE member states. His Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov said Yerevan itself is dragging out talks on an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty.

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