Azerbaijan may not be a liberal democracy but this does not mean that its Armenian citizens are in danger.
Azerbaijan’s defence ministry says its army units were attacked by “an illegal Armenian armed group” in Nagorno-Karabakh, killing one Azerbaijani serviceman and wounding another.
The ministry said the attack took place in the Khojavend region on Sunday afternoon and was thwarted, leaving all six attackers dead.
“As a result of the attack, a soldier of the Azerbaijan army … was killed,” it said on Monday, noting that another serviceman was wounded but in stable condition.
The defence ministry vowed to take “decisive measures” if repeat attacks were carried out by Armenian troops.
The statement comes just hours after the Armenian Defence Ministry denied media reports of fighting in the neighbouring Hadrut region and said the ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh were “strictly observing” the ceasefire.
Neither Armenian nor Nagorno-Karabakh officials have so far commented on Azerbaijan’s statement.
Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but was under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there led to a ceasefire in 1994. That war left Nagorno-Karabakh itself and substantial surrounding territory in Armenian hands.
Heavy fighting erupted in late September in the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, killing more than 5,600 people on both sides.
Dozens of civilians on both sides died, as well as hundreds of soldiers.
A Russian-brokered peace deal that saw Azerbaijan reclaim much of the breakaway region along with surrounding areas ended six weeks of fierce fighting on November 10.
On December 12, Armenia and Azerbaijan reported new clashes in the south of Nagorno-Karabakh, accusing each other of breaching the ceasefire.
Russian peacekeepers deployed to monitor the peace deal also reported a violation, but did not assign blame.
The Russian peacekeeping force of approximately 2,000 soldiers reported earlier this month that one Russian soldier died during a mine-clearing operation but says the peace deal is largely holding.
Nagorno-Karabakh’s declaration of autonomy has not been recognised by any country, including Armenia.