A total of 22 Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers died in January and February, according to Germany-based Khazar Institute of Military Studies. A third of the casualties - four in Azerbaijan and four in Armenia - died in crossfires at the border with Nagorno-Karabakh, also called the "line of contact", while the rest died due to accidents, suicides, or disease. An additional six Azerbaijani soldiers and an unreported number of Armenians were injured.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been engaged in a frozen conflict since signing a ceasefire to end a bloody war in 1994 over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. The territories are internationally recognised as being part of Azerbaijan. Frequent skirmishes at the border continue, and occasionally flare up when either side becomes frustrated with the lack of progress of peace negotiations. In recent years, Azerbaijan has put more pressure along the line of contact, and has used diplomatic and political rhetoric to convey a sense of urgency that the conflict be solved. However, neither side has changed its principled stance on the conflict: Azerbaijan continues to ask for the unconditional restitution of its territory, while Armenia requires that the territories become independent.
The founder of the Khazar Institute, Azerbaijani journalist Jasur Sumerinli, emigrated to Germany in 2014 to avoid falling victim to a government crackdown on civil society.
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