Azerbaijan has been accused of attempting to invade arch-enemy Armenia as fighting erupted across the border last night with missile and drone fire reported in the former soviet republic.
Both sides blamed each other for the eruption amid allegations that Azerbaijan is targeting civilian infrastructure, with at least 49 Armenian soldiers killed, although the numbers are expected to be higher.
Armenia’s ally Russia previously brokered a ceasefire between Caucasian neighbors in 2020 after six weeks of fighting that left 6,500 people dead.
But with Putin distracted by his own savage war in Ukraine, Azerbaijan has capitalized and struck when unable to offer military aid or assistance to Armenia.
The Kremlin said in a statement today: “We express our extreme concern over the sharp deterioration of the situation in the areas of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
“We call on the parties to refrain from any further escalation of the situation, to exercise restraint and to strictly observe the ceasefire.”
Footage circulating online appears to show a series of rockets being launched in the middle of the night in Armenia.
Azerbaijan said its forces were responding to Armenian provocation and denied allegations that they were striking civilian infrastructure.
The countries are embroiled in a decades-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994 .
The countries are embroiled in a decades-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan but is under the control of Armenian forces.
Azerbaijan has been accused of trying to invade arch-enemy Armenia as fighting erupted across the border last night.
“The Azerbaijani Armed Forces are undertaking limited and targeted measures, neutralizing Armenian firing positions,” it said in a statement.
Armenia said Azerbaijani forces “launched heavy shelling, with artillery and high-caliber firearms, against Armenian military positions towards the towns of Goris, Sotk and Jermuk” shortly after midnight.
But Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry accused Armenia of “large-scale subversive acts” near Dashkesan, Kelbajar and Lachin districts on the border, adding that its army positions “came under fire, including trench mortars”.
A ceasefire was agreed early this morning, but it collapsed minutes later.
Today, Turkey sided with its ally and told Armenia to ‘stop its provocations’ and ‘focus on peace negotiations and cooperation with Azerbaijan’, the official tweeted. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu after a phone call with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov.
But Armenia appealed to world leaders for help, saying early this morning: “Azerbaijani forces continue to use artillery, trench mortars and drones… hitting military and civilian infrastructure. The enemy is trying to advance (into Armenian territory).
Azerbaijan says its forces are responding to Armenian provocation and denies claims they were hitting civilian infrastructure
Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s office said it called Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to demand “an adequate reaction” to “Azerbaijan’s acts of aggression”.
Pashinyan also discussed escalating tensions with the European Union’s Charles Michel.
Michel, President of the European Council, said the EU was “ready to make efforts to prevent further escalation” and said there was “no alternative to peace and stability in the region,” according to an Armenian reading of the appeal.
The United States has called for an end to the conflict, with Blinken saying it is “deeply concerned” about the situation, including “reported strikes against settlements and civilian infrastructure” in Armenia.
“As we have long made clear, there can be no military solution to the conflict,” Blinken said in a statement. “We urge the immediate end of all military hostilities.”
Last week, Armenia accused Azerbaijan of killing one of its soldiers in a border shootout.
In August, Azerbaijan said it lost one soldier, and the Karabakh army said two of its soldiers were killed and more than a dozen injured.
The neighbors fought two wars – in the 1990s and in 2020 – in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Azerbaijani enclave populated by Armenians.
Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh split from Azerbaijan after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
With Putin distracted by his own savage war in Ukraine, Azerbaijan has capitalized and struck when unable to offer military aid or assistance to Armenia.
As part of the 2020 ceasefire, Armenia ceded swaths of territory it had controlled for decades and Moscow deployed around 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce.
In talks hosted by the EU in Brussels in May and April, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan agreed to “advance discussions” on a future peace treaty.
Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh split from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The ensuing conflict left an estimated 30,000 dead.
The Armenian Security Council met to invoke a mutual assistance and cooperation treaty with Russia that guarantees common defense and military assistance in the event of aggression against its signatories.
A statement read: “It has been decided to formally appeal to the Russian Federation in order to use the provisions of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance.”
He adds that Armenia will also look to the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Russian-led security bloc and the UN Security Council.