Tuesday, Azerbaijan and Armenia reported military clashes on their shared borders. The escalation in military clashes comes a year after a 44-day war between the two sides that Azerbaijan won.
The Armenian Parliament said 15 of its soldiers died as a result of the recent border clash. It also claimed that it lost two combat positions and blamed Azerbaijan for the violence. Furthermore, reports emerged of Azerbaijan capturing a dozen Armenian soldiers.
— The Azeri Times (@AzeriTimes) November 16, 2021
Meanwhile, the Azeri defense Minister, in turn, accused Armenian forces of committing a “large-scale provocation at the state border.” Azerbaijan also revealed that two of its soldiers were injured.
While both sides blamed each other for the provocation, the intense fighting has sparked concern among world leaders.
Taking to Twitter, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on both sides to “constructively” resolve issues.
“We are troubled by the reports of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We call on both sides to engage directly and constructively to resolve all outstanding issues, including border demarcation,” Antony Blinken wrote.
We are troubled by the reports of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We call on both sides to engage directly and constructively to resolve all outstanding issues, including border demarcation.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 16, 2021
The French Foreign Ministry also expressed concern about the deteriorating situation and urged both the countries to respect a ceasefire.
Russia once again brokers a ceasefire
According to the latest reports, Armenia and Azerbaijan again agreed to a ceasefire on Tuesday after Russia urged them to step back from confrontation.
“In accordance with an agreement by the Russian side, fire ceased on the eastern section of the Armenian-Azeri border. The situation is relatively stable,” Armenia’s defense ministry said.
Important to note, Russia mediated a peace deal between Azerbaijan and Armenia back in 2020 after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The conflict ended after Russia deployed almost 2000 peacekeepers to the region.
This time around, Russia once again de-escalated the tensions. However, it is highly likely that the border clashes will once again flare up owing to Armenia being an obstacle for Azerbaijan’s Zangazur corridor.
To clarify, the Zangazur corridor would connect the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic to the rest of Azerbaijan via Armenia’s Syunik Province. However, Armenia has steadily objected to it, asserting that “corridor logic” deviates from the ceasefire statement trilaterally signed at the end of that war, and that it is a form of propaganda.
In response, Azerbaijan’s leader, Ilham Aliyev, pledged earlier this year that he would “force” Armenia to concessions regarding the corridor.
Interestingly, both countries are also increasing their military budget.