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    Armenia, Azerbaijan exchange accusations over killed soldier

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    A Nagorny Karabakh soldier was killed in an apparent exchange of fire with Azerbaijani servicemen on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry of the unrecognized republic of Nagorny Karabakh said.

    A Nagorny Karabakh soldier was killed in an apparent exchange of fire with Azerbaijani servicemen on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry of the unrecognized republic of Nagorny Karabakh said.

    The incident occurred just hours after a group of officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) carried out a scheduled monitoring of the situation at the contact line between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops in the disputed area.

    "A 20-year-old private from the Nagorny Karabakh defense forces Arut Grigoryan was killed on October 26 by automatic gunfire from the Azerbaijani side," the ministry said in statement on Wednesday.

    Armenia denounced the incident, but Azerbaijan said its servicemen simply returned fire coming from the Armenian side.

    Armenia and Azerbaijan frequently accuse each other of violating the 1994 ceasefire agreement in the disputed area. Shooting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani troops sometimes result in soldiers' deaths.

    The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorny Karabakh, a predominantly ethnic Armenian region, first erupted in 1988, when the region claimed independence from Azerbaijan to join Armenia.

    Over 30,000 people are estimated to have died on both sides between 1988 and 1994, when a ceasefire was agreed. Nagorny Karabakh has remained in Armenian control and tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia have persisted.

    In May, the region elected a 33-seat parliament with a voter turnout of almost 68%. Azerbaijani officials called the elections "illegal," saying they could seriously harm peace efforts.

    The OSCE Minsk Group, comprising the United States, Russia and France, was created in 1992 to encourage a peaceful, negotiated resolution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorny Karabakh.

    YEREVAN/BAKU, October 27 (RIA Novosti)

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