Tuesday, September 27

Azerbaijan and Armenia collide on their borders and intensify tension


Ten months after signing a truce over Upper Karabakh, a border military escalation this morning leaves an undetermined number of dead

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.VYACHESLAV PROKOFYEV | AFP
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An undetermined number of soldiers have died this morning in the midst of a border military escalation. Ten months after signing a truce over Nagorno-Karabakh, and with persistent high tension all this time, Armenia has denounced artillery and drone bombardments against positions in their own territory. USA has called the parties to calm and to seek negotiated solutions to avoid another outbreak in the South Caucasus.

According to the latest statement from Yerevan, the army of neighboring azerbaijan “tries to advance into Armenia”. Thus culminates an early morning in which, according to a statement from the Armenian Ministry of Defense, Azerbaijani troops had launched an “intense bombardment” against positions along the border where, according to the Armenians, there were civilian targets: Goris, Kapan and Jermuk received enemy fire. “The Armed Forces of Armenia have carried out a proportional response,” zanj Armenia. Bak denied being the precursor to these renewed hostilities, accusing Armenia of launching a “large-scale provocation” against Dashkeshan, Kelbajar and Lachin districts. “There are casualties among the military [azerbaiyanos]”he announced, without going into details.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has contacted the US, Russia and France by phone in recent hours. The three countries are members of the Minsk group, the mediation table that for years has tried to resolve the Karabakh issue. “The United States is deeply concerned by reports of attacks along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, including attacks on settlements and civilian infrastructure inside Armenia,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

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Blinken has urged the parties to “end all military hostility immediately.” The alternative is to intensify a conflict in which Russia, focused on Ukraine, has a notable implication. Moscow, which signed a mutual assistance treaty with Armenia in 1997, sent 2,000 soldiers to Nagorno-Karabakh on a peacekeeping mission at the end of last year. The forces are deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the so-called Lachin corridor, which connects this separatist region with Armenian soil.

During the war held last year, in which about 6,500 people died, Bak, better equipped militarily, forced the Armenian army to retreat on numerous Cojj territories conquered in the 1990s around Karabakh, and which belonged to Azerbaijan. Finally, the cessation of hostilities was resolved thanks to a truce promoted by Russiaso that the Azerbaijanis were able to maintain control of Lachin and the rest of the territories formerly occupied by Armenia, but without penetrating into Karabakh.

This situation has turned out to be unstable despite attempts, especially by Turkey, to forge a three-way agreement that would contribute to the full opening of the Turkish-Armenian border. Last April and May, the EU tried to mediate in Brussels between the leaders Aliyev and Pashinyan. Both agreed to hold “advanced talks” on a final peace agreement that, however, has not yet materialized. Over the past few months, exchanges of fire between the armies of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been limited but persistent. Two weeks ago, the tension started to rise after an Azerbaijani soldier was killed by Armenian fire in Lachin. Azerbaijan responded by firing at Armenian positions.

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