Armenia, Azerbaijan report 99 troops killed in border conflict

YEREVAN, Armenia — Preventing on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan killed about 100 troops Tuesday as assaults on each side fed fears of broader hostilities breaking out between the longtime adversaries.

Armenia stated not less than 49 of its troopers have been killed; Azerbaijan stated it misplaced 50.

The combating erupted minutes after midnight with Azerbaijani forces unleashing an artillery barrage and drone assaults in lots of sections of Armenian territory, in keeping with Armenia’s Protection Ministry. It stated shelling grew much less intense throughout the day however Azerbaijani troops have been attempting to advance into Armenian territory.

Azerbaijan’s Overseas Ministry stated it was responding to a “large-scale provocation” by Armenia late Monday and early Tuesday. It stated Armenian troops planted mines and fired on Azerbaijani navy positions.

The 2 nations have been locked in a decades-old battle over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is a part of Azerbaijan however has been underneath the management of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist struggle there led to 1994.

Azerbaijan reclaimed broad swaths of Nagorno-Karabakh in a six-week struggle in 2020 that killed greater than 6,600 folks and ended with a Russia-brokered peace deal. Moscow deployed about 2,000 troops to the area to function peacekeepers underneath the deal.

The Russian Overseas Ministry on Tuesday urged each events “to refrain from further escalation and show restraint.” Moscow has engaged in a fragile balancing act in looking for to take care of pleasant ties with each ex-Soviet nations. It has robust financial and safety ties with Armenia, which hosts a Russian navy base, whereas additionally has been growing shut cooperation with oil-rich Azerbaijan.

The worldwide group additionally urged calm.

U.N. Secretary-Normal Antonio Guterres urged Armenia and Azerbaijan “to take immediate steps to deescalate tensions, exercise maximum restraint and resolve any outstanding issues through dialogue” and implement earlier agreements, his spokesman stated.

The U.N. Safety Council scheduled closed consultations Wednesday on the renewed combating.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan known as Russian President Vladimir Putin and later additionally had calls with French President Emmanuel Macron, European Council President Charles Michel and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by cellphone together with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Jeyhun Bayramov.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with each Pashinyan and Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev. The U.S. has a particular envoy within the area, Blinken stated, “and my hope is that we can move this from conflict back to the negotiating table and back to trying to build a peace.”

Talking in parliament early Tuesday, Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan of getting had an uncompromising stance at current European Union-brokered talks in Brussels.

Armenia stated the Azerbaijani shelling Tuesday broken civilian infrastructure and wounded an unspecified variety of folks.

On Fb, Aliyev expressed condolences “to the families and relatives of our servicemen who died on September 13 while preventing large-scale provocations committed by the Armenian armed forces in the direction of the Kalbajar, Lachin, Dashkasan and Zangilan regions of Azerbaijan.”

Turkey, an ally of Azerbaijan, additionally positioned the blame for the violence on Armenia. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed help for Aliyev and stated in an announcement that Turkey and Azerbaijan are “brotherly … in all matters.”

The governor of Gegharkunik province, one of many areas that got here underneath Azerbaijani shelling, stated there was a 40-minute lull within the combating, apparently reflecting Moscow’s try to barter a truce, earlier than it later resumed. The governor, Karen Sarkisyan, stated 4 Armenian troops in his area have been killed and one other 43 have been wounded by the shelling.

The Armenian authorities stated it will formally ask Russia for help underneath a friendship treaty between the nations, and in addition enchantment to the United Nations and the Collective Safety Treaty Group, a Moscow-dominated safety alliance of ex-Soviet nations.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov kept away from touch upon Armenia’s request however added throughout a convention name with reporters that Putin was “taking every effort to help de-escalate tensions.”

Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.

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