Four Armenian soldiers were killed today by fire from the armed forces of Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh, the authorities of the disputed enclave announced.

“Units of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan they opened fire against Armenian positions” in Martuni and Martakert areas overnight with artillery and drones, the Nagorno-Karabakh separatist authorities’ Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

“Four soldiers were killed after this new provocation by Azerbaijan,” according to the same source.

This announcement comes at a time when Washington has been hosting new negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan since Tuesday, with the aim of finding a solution to the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met separately yesterday with his Armenian counterparts Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Jeyhun Bairamov before the three men met together.

The talks are being held behind closed doors and are expected to last until Thursday.

“We continue to believe that peace is close and that direct dialogue is key to resolving outstanding issues and achieving a lasting and dignified peace” for both sides, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller assured Monday.

At the beginning of May, the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met again in Washington, while talks were held in the previous weeks in Brussels and Moscow.

Russia asked last week from the Azerbaijan to restore access through Armenia to Nagorno Karabakh, after product shortages were observed in the pocket. Since December, Yerevan has accused Baku of blocking supplies to the disputed region by closing the Lachin Corridor.

The two former Soviet republics of the Caucasus have been involved in two wars, in the 1990s and 2020s, over control of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally recognized as part of Azeri territory but inhabited mainly by Armenians.

In the first war, which killed 30,000 people, the separatists took control of Nagorno-Karabakh and areas around the mountainous enclave.

To second war In a six-week conflict that claimed the lives of 6,500 people, Azerbaijan recaptured territory controlled by Armenia for decades and much of the enclave.

A ceasefire was signed under Moscow’s auspices, followed by the deployment of a Russian peacekeeping force. However, tensions remain high and negotiations for the signing of a peace agreement are not progressing.