09:20 GMT02 July 2020
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    Three civilians were killed and at least two others were injured in shelling conducted by Azeri military forces in villages situated on the border between the two former Soviet republics, officials in Yerevan claimed.

    According to media reports, three women were killed in Armenian villages in the Tavush region Thursday night after the firing of “large-caliber mortars" by Azeri forces.

    "A 70-year-old woman was killed in the village of Paravakar, and two other women, aged 94 and 41 were killed in the village of Berdavan. Two other civilians were wounded," Armenian interior ministry spokesman Ashot Agaronyan told reporters.

    Armenia’s Ministry of Defense confirmed the attack, blaming Azerbaijan for an “act of provocation,” and calling on sides “to refrain from any steps which are aimed at escalation of the situation.”

    Azeri authorities haven’t commented on the claims made by Armenia, but a day prior to the lethal attack, that country’s defense ministry announced that Azeri villages in the same area had been shelled and state forces had responded with fire.

    The two countries are in a lengthy standoff because of Nagorno-Karabakh, a region surrounded by Azerbaijan but controlled by majority ethnic Armenians. It has been a frequent site of tensions between the two countries since a war fought over it in the 1990s claimed the lives of 30,000 people.

    Armenia has financially backed the mountainous region for more than two decades, but Azerbaijan often threatens to take back the territory by force, something Armenia, an ally of Russia's, says it will not stand for.


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    casualties, shelling, Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, Armenia
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