Moscow has said soldiers from Azerbaijan have violated a peace deal with Armenia over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The two sides fought a two-month war over the former Soviet territory in late 2020.
Russia on Saturday claimed that soldiers from Azerbaijan have entered a zone that is the responsibility of Moscow's peacekeepers in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Russia's Defense Ministry said Azeri forces had set up a surveillance post and carried out four drone strikes in the breakaway territory, in violation of a cease-fire agreement.
It added that Turkish-made drones were used to strike at Karabakh troops near the village of Farukh, also known as Parukh.
The Defense Ministry of Nagorno-Karabakh said the drones had killed three people and wounded another 15.
Azeri troops requested to leave
Moscow called on the government in Baku to withdraw its troops, and said it was taking measures to move the forces to their original positions.
"An appeal has been sent to the Azerbaijani side to withdraw its troops," said the Russian Defense Ministry.
Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry has refuted Moscow's version of events, describing Russia's statement as "one-sided."
The victory allowed Baku to retake territory it had lost in an earlier war, from 1991 to 1994, sparked after ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Karabakh's future in limbo
Despite a subsequent peace deal, many questions remain unresolved, including the legal status of the breakaway region and the Armenians who live there.
Moscow has deployed almost 2,000 peacekeepers to the region, reaffirming its leadership role in a volatile part of the former Soviet Union.
Meanwhile, Armenia this week called on for the West to prevent attempts aimed at "destabilizing the situation in the South Caucasus."
"We also expect the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh to undertake concrete, visible steps to resolve the situation and prevent new casualties and hostilities," Armenia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Armenian government has warned of a possible "humanitarian catastrophe" in Karabakh after gas supplies to the disputed region were cut off following repair work.