The frozen conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh has been simmering for years now as sporadic shelling and flare-ups threaten peace in the Caucasus and the greater Central Asian region. This week two civilians were killed in the Azerbaijan side of the border, due to alleged shelling by Armenian forces, according to the Azeri Defense Ministry.
“Two residents of the village of Alkhanly, including a two-year-old girl, were killed and one was wounded on July 4 as a result of shelling by Armenian forces,” Azeri defense ministry spokesman Vagif Dergakhly told a news conference, reported Reuters. Azeri forces reportedly returned fire.
The Armenian controlled territory, inside Azerbaijan proper, of course had a different take on events, saying the Azeri forces opened fire first and used heavy weapons on Armenian troops, inflicting casualties on civilians.
The conflict erupted in the early 1990s and a fragile ceasefire has mostly held for several decades, with the occasional flare-up and resulting deaths. The last several years have been particularly deadly. Three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, the policies of Stalin and other Soviet leaders are still inflicting deadly consequences.
200 military personnel and civilians have been killed since a severe uptick in violence last April.