Chief of Armenian intelligence services, Argishti Kyaramyan, was removed from duty on Thursday following the heavy losses than Armenia has thus far suffered in the ongoing fight against Azerbaijan.

Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian sacked Kyaramyan upon the request of the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, according to a statement posted on the Armenian presidential website. Kyaramyan had held the position since June.

Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s armed forces are fighting over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The two sides have been engaged in a war of words over this territory since the May 1994 ceasefire agreement. In the last conflict, the Armenians had inflicted heavy casualties on the Azerbaijani side thus securing de facto control of Karabakh and occupying a number of neighboring areas previously populated by Azerbaijanis.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been strained since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. Yet, it is mainly governed by the Republic of Artsakh, which has an Armenian ethnic majority. Azerbaijan has not exercised political authority over the region since the advent of the Karabakh movement in 1988.