Heavy artillery fire, many dead and wounded – fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region continues. The state of war is now valid in both countries.
After heavy fighting with many dead and wounded in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, neighboring countries Armenia and Azerbaijan are now at war. It came into force in Azerbaijan on Monday night, as President Ilham Aliyev decided at the weekend. In the former Soviet republic, curfew is assumed in some parts of the country. In Armenia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan mobilized the population in Yerevan on Sunday and declared a state of war across the country.
Both opposing parties continued fighting on Monday night. According to the relevant ministries of defense, there was heavy artillery fire between the two sides. According to official information from Nagorno-Karabakh, the number of killed pro-Armenian fighters increased to a total of 39.
Azerbaijan had previously launched a military operation against Nagorno-Karabakh and captured several villages. According to information from both sides, fighting broke out between the fighting countries early on Sunday morning. The capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, was allegedly shot dead. Pashinyan considered battles to be a declaration of war against his people.
Both sides blamed each other for the fighting: Armenia accused Azerbaijan of shooting Nagorno-Karabakh from the air and artillery. The troops themselves then destroyed three tanks on the opposite side and shot down two helicopters and three drones. Azerbaijan opposed the information and in return said it had responded to the Armenian attack. At the front, you have the enemy under control. Armenian human rights activists said two civilians were killed, a woman and a child. The Azerbaijani government has announced that several civilians have been killed.
Nagorno-Karabakh’s deputy army chief Artur Sarkisian said 16 people and two civilians had been killed and more than 100 injured. Azerbaijan announced that there were five dead and wounded in its own ranks. Armenia claimed that 200 soldiers had been killed on the enemy side. However, Baku did not confirm this.
Armenian head of government warns of “total war”
Prime Minister Pashinyan warned of a military fire. The Azerbaijani “authoritarian regime has again declared war on the Armenian people,” Pashinyan reported on Armenian television. “We are facing a total war in the South Caucasus,” which could have “unpredictable consequences” for the region and possibly beyond. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense said the army had launched a “counter-offensive” to halt “Armenian military activities” in the region and ensure the security of the population.
Russia demands an immediate ceasefire
Russia called for an immediate ceasefire in the area. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is working intensively to persuade the conflicting parties to stop firing in the conflict area, Moscow said. Both countries would have to return to the negotiating table. Russia has been mediating the conflict for years. Armenia relies on Russia as a protective power, with thousands of troops and weapons stationed in Moscow.
Germany and France also called on both countries to end the violence. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the conflict could only be resolved through negotiations. In a travel and security announcement, the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that “renewed fighting” had broken out in the Nagorno-Karabakh-Azerbaijan region: “We strongly advise against traveling to the region and the entire border area with Azerbaijan.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not recognize the region as a “Nagorno-Karabakh Republic” and describes it as “areas of the Republic of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenian forces”.
The EU called for an immediate end to all fighting. EU Council President Charles Michel said the conflicting parties must “return to the negotiating table immediately”. Information about the recent fighting has caused “great concern”. UN Secretary-General Guterres also called for an immediate end to the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. He was “extremely concerned” about the resurgence of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Guterres said in New York.
Turkey blames Armenia
Turkey immediately sided with Azerbaijan. AKP spokesman Ömer Celik vehemently condemned “Armenia’s attack on Azerbaijan” on Twitter. This is another Armenian provocation. Following a phone call with President Ilham Aliyev, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan assured Azerbaijan of “increased” solidarity in his country.
Conflict since 1991
The region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is controlled by Armenia, belongs to the Islamic region of Azerbaijan under international law. Conflict over the region erupted after the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, when Nagorno-Karabakh had the status of an autonomous region of the USSR. In 1992, war broke out in the area, killing approximately 30,000 people and displacing hundreds of thousands over the next two years. At that time, Azerbaijan lost control of the area inhabited by Christian Karabakh Armenians. The ceasefire agreed in 1994 has been repeatedly violated to this day. The conflict last erupted in 2016.