What to Know:
The St. Petersburg Navy Submarine Veterans Club has identified Russian Captain First Rank Ivan Kovgan as one of the five Russian soldiers killed by Azerbaijani gunfire in Nagorno-Karabakh yesterday.
Kovgan served as both the deputy commander of Russia’s North Fleet submarine forces and the deputy commander of Russia’s peacekeeper contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh, which has been serving in the region since the end of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War. The shooting came amid offensive operations by Azerbaijani forces against the region that resulted in the surrender of the Artsakh Republic, which had declared independence in 1991 with the backing of Armenia amid the First Nagorno-Karabakh War.
Russian’s Ministry of Defense announced on Wednesday that an unspecified peacekeepers were killed when it came under fire and that Azerbaijani and Russian investigators were at the scene to investigate. It was later reported that five Russian servicemen were killed.
Azerbaijan issued an apology, with the Kremlin reporting that “[Azerbaijani President] Ilham Aliyev apologized and expressed deep condolences on the tragic death of servicemen of the Russian peacekeeping contingent (RMC) in Karabakh on September 20. It is emphasized that the most thorough investigation of the incident will be carried out and all those responsible will be duly punished.”
“In this regard, the Prosecutor General’s Offices of the two countries are in close contact. The President of Azerbaijan also expressed his readiness to provide material assistance to the families of the victims,” the statement added.
While those involved in the shooting are likely to face punishment, it is unlikely that Russia will take any political measure against Azerbaijan. During the tail end of the 2020 war, Azerbaijani forces shot down a Russian military helicopter over Armenia, which killed two crew members. Azerbaijan issued an apology, but there was no know retaliation by Russia.