Baku and Yerevan put themselves on a battle footing after heavy preventing erupted Sunday between Azerbaijan and Armenian separatists, claiming army and civilian casualties on either side, together with not less than one little one.
The worst clashes since 2016 have raised the spectre of a contemporary battle between arch enemies Azerbaijan and Armenia which have been locked for many years in a territorial dispute over the Armenia-backed breakaway area of Nagorny Karabakh.
A significant confrontation between the ex-Soviet Caucasus neighbours would attract huge regional gamers Moscow and Ankara.
Russia, France, Germany and the EU swiftly urged an “immediate ceasefire,” whereas Pope Francis prayed for peace.
The Armenian defence ministry spokesman, Artsrun Hovhannisyan, mentioned intense preventing continued alongside the Karabakh frontline Sunday afternoon.
Azerbaijan mentioned it had captured seven of its Armenian-controlled villages, a declare Yerevan denied.
In a televised handle to the nation earlier within the day, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev vowed victory over Armenian forces.
“Our cause is just and we will win,” Aliyev mentioned, repeating a well-known quote from Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s handle on the outbreak of World War II in Russia.
“Karabakh is Azerbaijan,” he mentioned.
Both Armenia and the breakaway area of Nagorny Karabakh declared martial legislation and army mobilisation.
“Get ready to defend our sacred homeland,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan mentioned on Facebook.
Armenia mentioned earlier Sunday that Azerbaijan attacked civilian settlements in Nagorny Karabakh together with the primary metropolis Stepanakert.
Azerbaijan accused Armenian forces of violating a ceasefire, saying it had launched a counter-offensive to “ensure the safety of the population”, utilizing tanks, artillery missiles, fight aviation and drones.
“There are reports of dead and wounded among civilians and military servicemen,” Azerbaijan’s overseas ministry mentioned. “Extensive damage has been inflicted on many homes and civilian infrastructure.”
Karabakh’s rights ombudsman Artak Beglaryan pointed to “civilian casualties,” whereas Armenia mentioned a girl and little one had been killed.
Russia, EU urge ceasefire
Ethnic Armenian separatists seized the Nagorny Karabakh area from Baku in a Nineties battle that claimed 30,000 lives.
Talks to resolve one of many worst conflicts to emerge from the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union have been largely stalled since a 1994 ceasefire settlement.
France, Russia and the United States have mediated peace efforts because the “Minsk Group” however the final huge push for a peace deal collapsed in 2010.
Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey blamed Yerevan for the flare-up and promised Baku its “full support”.
“We strongly condemn the attack by Armenia against Azerbaijan,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin mentioned on Twitter.
Russia’s Lavrov spoke along with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, Moscow mentioned, stressing “the need to halt fire as soon as possible”.
The two mentioned “Armenia’s aggression”, a Turkish diplomatic supply mentioned.
Pope Francis instructed crowds on Saint Peter’s Square he was praying for peace and referred to as for “concrete gestures of good will and fraternity” from the warring sides.
Political observers mentioned international powers ought to intensify talks to cease the battle.
“We are a step away from a large-scale war,” Olesya Vartanyan of the International Crisis Group instructed AFP.
“One of the main reasons for the current escalation is a lack of any proactive international mediation between the sides for weeks,” she added.
“War is resuming. Time for Russia, France and US, individually and jointly, to stop it,” tweeted Dmitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Centre.
Karabakh separatist chief, Arayik Harutyunyan, accused Ankara of sending mercenaries to Azerbaijan.
“We have information that mercenaries from Turkey and other countries were airlifted to Azerbaijan,” he mentioned.
“The Turkish army is already in Azerbaijan, under the guise of military drills,” he claimed.
On Sunday morning, Azerbaijan began “active bombing” alongside Karabakh’s frontline together with civilian targets and in the primary metropolis Stepanakert, Karabakh’s presidency mentioned.
The insurgent defence ministry mentioned its troops shot down 4 Azerbaijani helicopters and 15 drones, whereas Baku denied the claims.
On Friday, Aliyev accused Armenia of undermining Karabakh peace talks.
In July, heavy clashes alongside the 2 nations’ shared border — a whole bunch of kilometres from Karabakh — claimed the lives of not less than 17 troopers from either side.
Raising the stakes, Azerbaijan on the time threatened to strike Armenia’s atomic energy station if Yerevan attacked strategic services.
During the worst latest clashes in April 2016, round 110 folks had been killed.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is printed from a syndicated feed.)