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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Rising tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan

According to a statement from the Armenian defence ministry, Azerbaijan deployed small weapons, mortars, and artillery in their assault.

After Yerevan reported that at least 49 of its soldiers were killed in the fighting, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that it had lost 50 troops in overnight clashes with ethnic Armenian troops. This was the deadliest fighting since Armenia and Azerbaijan engaged in a six-week war in 2020 over the breakaway azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan claimed that ethnic Armenian forces had broken the terms of the cease-fire, which Russia claimed it had mediated.

The Azerbaijani armed forces have not stopped shelling the positions of ethnic Armenian troops, settlements, and infrastructure “for a single minute,” according to spokesman for the Armenian Defense Ministry Aram Torosian. However, he claimed the shelling in some directions had significantly weakened.

Read More: Border battles reported between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Earlier, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan refuted reports that its soldiers were attacking civilian facilities and said instead that they were reacting to Armenian “provocation.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Ceyhun Bayramov spoke on the phone, according to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.

Lavrov stressed the necessity of preventing war in the area as well as the significance of fully implementing the agreements reached by the presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia to put an end to hostilities.

After Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that Baku had attacked Armenian forces overnight and that fighting was still going on, Armenia made an appeal to world leaders.

International Response

Presidents Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Pashinian spoke on the phone with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. His spokesperson declared that the United States would “advocate for an early end to combat and a peace deal” between the neighbours.

The fighting was “in no one’s interest,” according to Blinken, who also urged Aliyev and Pashinian to “do everything possible to pull back from confrontation and get back to talking about a permanent peace.”

Blinken acknowledged that there were “always concerns” about Moscow’s involvement in the peace process but added that it would be beneficial if Moscow could utilise its might to calm the seas.

The Armenian government announced earlier that it will activate a cooperation agreement with Moscow and make an appeal to both the UN Security Council and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a regional security group run by Russia.

According to spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to “exercise maximum caution and resolve any unresolved concerns through dialogue and within established forums” in order to swiftly deescalate tensions.

According to President Emmanuel Macron’s office, France will bring up the conflicts before the UN Security Council.

On September 13, the Kremlin declared that Russian President Vladimir Putin was making every effort to reduce hostilities.

When asked if Moscow planned to take action in response to Yerevan’s request for assistance to the CSTO, Peskov declined to provide further information.

Turkey, a longtime ally of Azerbaijan, accused Armenia of starting the most recent incident and called on Yerevan to “stop provocations” towards Baku.

On September 13, a virtual meeting of the CSTO—which includes Armenia but excludes Azerbaijan—to discuss the situation took place.

Following the meeting, the secretary-general of the CSTO may travel to the conflict area, according to the press office of the president of Belarus. One of the things that may be taken right away to defuse the situation was suggested—the vacation.

Stanislav Zas, the secretary-general of the CSTO, would use the journey to write a thorough report. According to a CSTO release, another suggestion would establish a working committee made up of employees from the CSTO Joint Headquarters and Secretariat to assess the situation and make proposals.