Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has apologized to Vladimir Putin over an incident in Nagorno-Karabakh that left Russian “peacekeepers” dead.
During a telephone conversation with Putin on Thursday, Aliyev “expressed deep condolences” over the tragedy and promised to conduct a “thorough investigation” and “punish those responsible”, the Kremlin press service said.
Aliyev also “expressed readiness to provide material assistance to the families of the victims” and said the two countries’ Prosecutor Generals’ Offices “are in close contact” to investigate the incident.
The military peacekeeping mission, which was deployed in Karabakh in 2020, came under fire on Wednesday, September 20. It happened near the village of Dzhanyatag when their vehicle was returning from an observation post, the Russian Defense Ministry said the day before.
A source close to the Defense Ministry told The Moscow Times that four people were killed and that officers could be among them. Another military officer was wounded.
On Thursday, it became known that the deputy commander of the Northern Fleet’s submarine forces, Capt. First Rank Ivan Kovgan, was among the dead. He was seconded to Karabakh two months ago and served as deputy head of the peacekeepers’ mission.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that “the Russian peacekeepers who died in Karabakh took the blow for the sake of peace in the region”.