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Nagorno-Karabakh civilian shot dead in apparent ceasefire violation

11 October 2021
Photo credit: Hetq/Narek Aleksanyan.

Aram Tepnants, a 55-year-old resident of the town of Martakert (Aghdara) in Nagorno-Karabakh, was reportedly shot dead by an Azerbaijani sniper while working on a farm that was under the direct supervision of Russian peacekeepers.

The Interior Ministry of Nagorno-Karabakh reported the incident on 9 October.

The following day, Russia’s Ministry of Defense also confirmed the incident and stated that Russian peacekeepers have launched an investigation ‘with the involvement of representatives of both sides’. 

Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry has called the reports of the shooting ‘untrue’.

Mikayel Gyurjyan, the Mayor of Martakert, told Tert.am that the man was shot while driving a tractor. ‘Five to six’ Russian peacekeepers were in the immediate area where the man was working. 

The tractor cabin where Aram Tepnants was shot. Photo via Tert.am.

The incident reportedly took place roughly one to two kilometres away from the line of contact. 

According to the Prosecutor’s Office of Armenia, Tepnants initially avoided driving any agricultural machinery, fearing that he might be shot, ‘but one of the peacekeepers offered to sit with him in the cabin as an additional guarantee of safety’.

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‘They did several rounds that way’, witnesses cited by the report claimed.

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry ‘strongly condemned’ the shooting, stating that it was a ‘gross violation’ of Azerbaijan’s obligations under the 9 November ceasefire agreement. 

 For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.

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