Russian sub commander machine-gunned to death by Azerbaijan forces

Russian submarine commander is machine-gunned to death by Azerbaijan forces during peacekeeping mission

  • Captain Ivan Kovgan was killed by machine gun fire in a wartorn Azerbaijan region
  • He was part of a Russian peacekeeping force deployed in the area
  • Kovgan was deputy commander of Russia’s Northern Fleet submarine force

Vladimir Putin has lost one of his top nuclear submarine force commanders after his vehicle was hit by heavy machine gun fire while he was on a peacekeeping mission in Azerbaijan. 

Captain Ivan Kovgan, 52, was gunned down in the disputed Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, where he was seconded as deputy commander of a peacekeeping force. 

The 52-year-old military leader was also deputy commander of Russia’s Northern Fleet submarine force based in the Arctic.

He died alongside Colonel Tagir-Murod Karaev, from Russia’s Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defence Forces, along with four other Russian servicemen, when their UAZ Patriot vehicle was riddled with bullets by the Azerbaijani army.

‘Their vehicle came under fire. Everyone was killed,’ a source said. 

Captain Ivan Kovgan (pictured) was killed by machine gun fire in Azerbaijan

His 4×4 vehicle was riddled with machine gun bullets

He and five other Russian servicemen were killed in the attack 

Photos of the 4×4 vehicle that held the military figures show it was riddled with bullets. 

Those responsible for the shooting of the submarine commander and other peacekeepers have been detained, and are expected to face criminal action.

Their commander has been suspended.

Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev personally apologised to Putin for the killing of Kovgan and the other peacekeepers, and promised financial compensation for their families.

‘In order to investigate all the causes of the incident, the investigative authorities of Azerbaijan and Russia are working on the spot,’ said the defence ministry in Baku.

Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev has personally apologised for the killings

Kovgan (pictured left) was deputy commander of Russia’s Northern Fleet submarine force based in the Arctic

It called for ‘patience’ during the probe and expressed condolences to the Russian military and the soldiers’ relatives.

The killings came as ceasefire between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenians in the region was declared, just 24 hours after Azerbaijan launched a military operation to gain full control over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly Armenia province.

The area lies in the mountains of the South Caucasus region of eastern Europe and Asia, between the Black Sea and the Caspian, and has been at the centre of one of the world’s longest running conflicts. 

Russian peacekeepers were sent to the region after thousands of people were reportedly killed in six weeks of fighting between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the self-declared breakaway region of Artsakh.

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