Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated on Sunday after the two countries attacked each other in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which has long been a source of conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis. Although it is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh is within the limits of Azerbaijani territory), the region is controlled by an ethnic Armenian majority.
In a statement, the Armenian Ministry of Defense announced that its army had destroyed three Azerbaijani tanks, two helicopters and three drones in response to an Azerbaijani-led attack on Sunday morning against civilian targets, including against the capital of Upper. Karabakh. , Stepanakert. “Our response will be proportionate,” the ministry said of the attack on Azerbaijan, accusing the country of having “full responsibility for the situation,” Reuters said.
According to ministry spokesman Shushan Stepanyan, a woman and a child died. Reports of other deaths are being verified, he added.
Azerbaijan has denied statements by the Armenian Defense Ministry, accusing Armenia of attacking its border positions. Hikmet Hajiyev, adviser to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, ensured that the Armenian army launched “deliberate” attacks along the Nagorno-Karabakh border with the country. According to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, Armenian troops attacked civilian positions along the “line of contact”, a mining area that separates the two military forces, resulting in the deaths of some people and the destruction of infrastructure.
According to the BBC, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry admitted the destruction of a helicopter and 12 air defense systems, but denied the other losses reported by Armenia. The crew following the plane will have survived.
In response to the Armenian attack, the Azerbaijani army launched a “counteroffensive along the border to suppress the combat activities of the Armenian armed forces and ensure the safety of the civilian population.”
Following the escalation of tensions, the government of Nagorno-Karabakh announced this Sunday the introduction of martial law and the total mobilization of the male population. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian launched, via Facebook, a call for a “general military mobilization”, asking “personnel linked to the armed forces to report to their territorial military commissions”.
According to the BBC, the Russian Foreign Ministry has called for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of talks to resolve the situation in the region.
The Nagorno-Karabakh region, a former Azerbaijani territory, has not been dominated by Azerbaijan since the end of the war in 1994. The conflict between the two sides dates back to Soviet times, when at the end of the years 80, the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, mostly populated by Armenians, requested its integration into neighboring Armenia.
This was the motto of the war, which lasted for several years and killed around 25,000 people. At the end of the conflict, Armenian forces took control of the region, although Azerbaijan maintains a strong military presence throughout the demilitarized zone that separates the region from the rest of the country.
Azerbaijan argues that the solution of the conflict necessarily involves the liberation of the occupied territories, a demand which has been supported by several resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. Armenia, for its part, supports Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to self-determination.