Armenian militants attacked Soviet Interior Ministry troops in Azerbaijan with machine guns and grenades Friday, killing one soldier and wounding eight others, Soviet media reported.
Soviet troops later surrounded a nearby Armenian village and demanded it turn over all its weapons, the Armenian Interior Ministry reported. An Armenian official reported machine-gun fire in the village, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.Armenians, who are mostly Christian, have been skirmishing for three years with the mainly Muslim Azerbaijanis along the 600-mile border that separates the two republics on the southern rim of the Soviet Union.
The Azerbaijani news agency Assa-Irada said the latest attack took place at dawn on a road between the villages of Kehne Gishlak and Tatli in Akstafa Province, two miles from the Armenian border in northwestern Azerbaijan.
Radio Russia said 14 soldiers were traveling in two military trucks when they were ambushed. Both reports said nine of the soldiers were wounded, and Assa-Irada said one of the soldiers later died.
A few hours later, Soviet troops with 11 armored vehicles and six helicopters crossed the border into Armenia, surrounded the nearby village of Paravakar and demanded that residents turn over weapons, the Armenian Interior Ministry said.
Harutun Khachaturian, a ministry official, said there were preliminary reports that the helicopters fired machine guns into the village, which he said has fewer than 500 residents.