At least 15 men have been killed and three injured in a fire that broke at a military unit in Azat village in Armenia’s eastern province of Gegharkunik.

“According to preliminary data, 15 servicemen were killed as a result of the fire that broke out in the barracks of an engineer and sniper company of a military unit,”

read a statement from the Ministry of Defense released on Thursday. It added that the three wounded men were in serious condition.

The blaze broke out at 1:30am (9.30 GMT) on Thursday “under circumstances that have yet to be determined”, the ministry said.

The incident follows a blast which took place in August last year when at least 16 people died and about 60 were injured.

The explosion ripped through a warehouse in a market in Yerevan, the Armenian capital. Azat lies near the border with Azerbaijan, a country that was at war with Armenia in 2020

The region is internationally recognised as Azerbaijani but it is populated and controlled by its ethnic Armenian majority.