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A high-ranking Russian military official was killed during a skirmish in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, in Azerbaijan.
Captain First Rank (Colonel) Ivan Kovgan, was serving as the deputy commander of Russia’s North Fleet submarine forces. He was appointed to the role of second-in-command of a Russian contingent in the region two months before his death.
The incident occurred on September 20 when Azerbaijani forces launched what they described as an “anti-terrorist” operation in the region.
According to the Club of Navy Submarine Veterans in St. Petersburg, Captain Kovgan was among those caught up in the attack.
The 52-year-old was fatally shot when Azerbaijani forces opened fire on a vehicle transporting Russian personnel.
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Nagorno-Karabakh is home to approximately 120,000 ethnic Armenians and is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev took immediate action in response to the incident. On September 21, he engaged in a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin to extend his apologies and convey condolences for the loss of Russian military personnel during the operation.
In a statement released by the Kremlin, Aliyev emphasised a commitment to conducting a thorough investigation into the incident and holding those responsible accountable.
It was noted that Russian and Azerbaijani prosecutors were already in contact to launch a comprehensive probe into the matter.
Additionally, President Aliyev expressed his readiness to provide financial support to the families of the deceased military personnel.
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Reports from Russian media outlets on September 21 revealed that the commander of the Azerbaijani armed forces unit, allegedly implicated in the fatal shooting incident, had been relieved of his duties. Furthermore, the reports mentioned that initial suspects connected to the incident had been detained.
The precise number of Russian troops killed in the attack has yet to be officially disclosed.
Russian military have been deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh as part of a cease-fire agreement, ending a devastating war that claimed the lives of approximately 7,000 people.
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