After fierce fighting with countless dead and wounded in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict region, the belligerent neighbors Armenia and Azerbaijan are now at war. In Azerbaijan, this went into effect Monday evening, as President Ilham Aliyev decided over the weekend. In the former Soviet Republic, there should be curfews in some parts of the country.
On Monday, Aliyev also ordered partial mobilization. This means that conscripts would be drafted into military service, according to a letter published by the president’s office in Baku on Monday.
In Armenia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan mobilized the people of Yerevan on Sunday and declared war across the country. Azerbaijan had previously launched a military operation against Nagorno-Karabakh, taking several villages.
According to both sides, the fighting broke out early on Sunday morning between the warring countries. The capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, is said to have been shelled. Pashinyan saw the battles as a declaration of war against his people.
Video 28-09-2020, 11:02 1:37 PM Many deaths in the fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh
The Armenian-controlled region with an estimated 145,000 inhabitants belongs to Islamic Azerbaijan under international law. It’s the worst escalation in decades.
Another 15 pro-Armenian fighters were killed Monday evening, according to the regional government. This increased the number of fatalities to 32. Seven civilian casualties were reported on Sunday, including five Azerbaijani and two Armenian. The Azerbaijani army has not yet provided information on their losses.
The number of victims could be much higher. The Azerbaijan government said it had killed 550 pro-Armenian fighters. Armenia denied the report, stating that it had killed “a dozen” Azerbaijani soldiers. Both sides reported gains. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, civilians are also among the victims.
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Both sides blamed each other for the fighting. Armenia claimed on Sunday evening that Turkey would have backed Azerbaijan. The Ministry of Defense in Yerevan has information about this; that, for example, Turkish weapons have been used.
Prime Minister Pashinyan also emphasized during a telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron that Turkey was behaving very aggressively. Ankara must be prevented from getting involved in this conflict. So far there has been no response from Turkey.
The federal government is calling for a ceasefire
UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for an immediate end to the fighting in the Caucasus. Guterres said in New York on Sunday “extremely concerned” about the resurgence of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. He urged both sides to end the fighting immediately, reduce tensions and start negotiations immediately.
The US government also called for an end to the fighting. The State Department in Washington reportedly contacted both sides, calling on the parties to the conflict to stop fighting immediately, use existing channels of communication to prevent further escalation of the conflict, and to refrain from the use of ‘useless’ words and deeds. .
Germany, France, Italy and the EU had previously called for an immediate end to the fighting. The federal government considers the newly emerged fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region as a “dangerous situation”. There must be a ceasefire and immediate negotiations, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in Berlin on Monday.
Armenia trusts the protective power of Russia
This is the federal government’s urgent appeal. A spokeswoman for the Federal State Department added that the federal government is in contact with both parties through the local embassies. Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas (SPD) stressed that the OSCE group of Minsk with its three co-chairs France, Russia and the US was ready for negotiations. Iran, which has good relations with both countries, also offered itself as a mediator.
Baku had lost control of the area inhabited by Christian Karabakh Armenians in a war following the collapse of the Soviet Union. A ceasefire has existed in the region since 1994, but this has been broken several times. The last time the conflict flared up in 2016 – more than 120 people died. The completely impoverished Armenia relies on Russia as a protective force, which has thousands of soldiers and weapons stationed there. The oil and gas rich Azerbaijan has Turkey as an allied brother state.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised against traveling to the region. “Travel to the vicinity of the Line of Contact around Nagorno-Karabakh and the occupied territories, as well as to the entire border area with Armenia is strongly discouraged,” the travel and security information said on Sunday evening. The same goes for travel to the entire border area on the Armenian side. Access to Nagorno-Karabakh without a corresponding Azerbaijani license is a criminal offense under Azerbaijani law, it is also said. (dpa, AFP)