Soldier Maxim (age 20 - C) and his comrades patrol the border area with Azerbaijan - 300 m from the Azeri security point - in the Martakert military base situated on the Northeast borderline with Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Army is the formal defense force of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and was founded on May 9, 1992. The army is currently composed of around 20,000 officers and soldiers and its primary role is the protection of the NKR from foreign and domestic threats. Violations of the cease fire along the frontier are frequent and often result in the deaths of several soldiers and civilians each year. One of the most dangerous spots on the borderline with Azerbaijan is Martakert. In Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia the military service is compulsory for two years for the citizens at age of 18-27. Many of the Armenian soldiers are deployed in military units close to the border with Azerbaijan. Armenia officially declared itself as a guarantee of security of Nagorno Karabakh, but it doesn’t officially recognize the independence of Nagorno Karabakh. This makes military service a sensitive issue for both Karabakh's ethnic and Armenian population. Martakert, Nagorno-Karabakh, 20 September 2008.