YEREVAN: A fire at a military base in Armenia early Thursday killed at least 15 soldiers, reports AP.
The fire swept through a military barrack in the village of Azat, in Gegharkunik province, eastern Armenia.
Armenian Defense Minister Suren Papikyan said at a Cabinet meeting that the fire erupted because soldiers used gasoline to fuel a stove.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan responded by firing Gen. Vagram Grigoryan, who was in charge of a group of forces in the region that includes the unit where the fire occurred, and several other officers.
Prosecutors opened a probe into the fire.
The Gegharkunik region borders Azerbaijan, which has been locked in a decades-long conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994.
In six weeks of heavy fighting that began in September 2020, the Azerbaijani military routed Armenian forces and moved deep into Nagorno-Karabakh, forcing Armenia to accept a Russia-brokered peace deal in November that year. Another flare-up of fighting last September killed 155 soldiers from both sides.