Not less than 16 navy and several other civilians have been killed in heavy preventing between neighbours Armenia and Azerbaijan over a disputed area.
They have been the heaviest clashes since 2016, reigniting concern about stability within the South Caucasus, a hall for pipelines carrying oil and fuel to world markets.
The clashes between the 2 former Soviet republics, which fought a conflict within the 1990s, have been the newest flare-up of a long-running battle over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway area that’s inside Azerbaijan however is run by ethnic Armenians.
Nagorno-Karabakh mentioned 16 of its serviceman had been killed and greater than 100 wounded after Azerbaijan launched an air and artillery assault early on Sunday.
Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh declared martial regulation and mobilised the male inhabitants.
Azerbaijan, which additionally declared martial regulation, mentioned its forces responded to Armenian shelling and that 5 members of 1 household had been killed by Armenian shelling.
It additionally mentioned its forces had seized management of as much as seven villages. Nagorno-Karabakh initially denied this however later acknowledged dropping “some positions” and mentioned it had suffered a variety of civilian casualties, with out giving particulars.
5 members of 1 household had been killed by Armenian shelling, Azerbaijan’s prosecutor’s workplace mentioned.
The clashes prompted a flurry of diplomacy to cut back the brand new tensions in a decades-old battle between majority Christian
Armenia and primarily Muslim Azerbaijan, with Russia calling for an instantaneous ceasefire and one other regional energy, Turkey, saying it will help Azerbaijan.
The US condemned the escalation and urged either side to stop hostilities instantly.
Pipelines delivery Caspian oil and pure fuel from Azerbaijan to the world go near Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia additionally warned about safety dangers within the South Caucasus in July after Azerbaijan threatened to assault Armenia’s nuclear energy plant as doable retaliation.
Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan in a battle that broke out because the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Although a ceasefire was agreed in 1994, after hundreds of individuals have been killed and plenty of extra displaced, Azerbaijan and Armenia ceaselessly accuse one another of assaults round Nagorno-Karabakh and alongside the separate Azeri-Armenian frontier.
In Sunday’s clashes, Armenian proper activists mentioned an ethnic Armenian lady and baby had additionally been killed.
Armenia mentioned Azeri forces had attacked civilian targets together with Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital, Stepanakert, and promised a “proportionate response”.
“We keep sturdy subsequent to our military to guard our motherland from Azeri invasion,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan wrote on Twitter.
Azerbaijan denied an Armenian defence ministry assertion saying Azeri helicopters and tanks had been destroyed, and accused Armenian forces of launching “deliberate and focused” assaults alongside the entrance line.
“We defend our territory, our trigger is true,” Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, mentioned in an deal with to the nation.
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Turkey mentioned it was speaking to members of the Minsk group, which mediates between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Russia, France and the US are co-presidents.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by cellphone to Pashinyan however no particulars of the dialog have been obtainable, and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Aliyev.
Erdogan, promising help for conventional ally Azerbaijan, mentioned Armenia was “the most important risk to peace within the area” and referred to as on “your complete world to face with Azerbaijan of their battle in opposition to invasion and cruelty.”
Pashinyan hit again, urged the worldwide neighborhood to make sure Turkey doesn’t become involved within the battle.
The European Union and the Group for Safety and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) urged either side to cease navy actions and return to negotiations, as did Pope Francis.
Not less than 200 folks have been killed in a flare-up of the battle between Armenia and Azerbaijan in April 2016. Not less than 16 folks have been killed in clashes in July.