The intensification of the pulse that Armenia and Azerbaijan have maintained for decades on account of the disputed region of Nagorno Karabakh has already caused 49 deaths in the Armenian Army, according to the Prime Minister of that country, Nikol Pashinyan, after in the early hours of this Tuesday, The Azeri Army bombed several Armenian towns in the southern province of Siunik. Both countries of the Caucasus agreed to a ceasefire early in the morning that came into force at nine in the morning (seven o’clock in Spanish peninsular time) but which, according to the Armenian media, barely lasted a few minutes. Pashinyan later confirmed that Baku had continued to attack positions of his forces.
“The intensity of hostilities has decreased, but Azerbaijani attacks continue,” Pashinyan said in a speech to parliament, quoted by Russian media.
The Armenian prime minister then accused Azerbaijan of attacking Armenian cities because it does not want to negotiate the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave that is within the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan but whose population is majority Armenian and which, in December 1991, unilaterally declared its independence.
Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have blamed each other for the escalation in hostilities, the latest dispute in a decades-long history of tension between the two states over Nagorno-Karabakh. These tensions, never resolved, erupted again this morning when the Azeri Army bombed several towns such as Goris, Sotk and Dzhermuk, Armenia reported in a statement. Azerbaijan, for its part, also released an official note accusing its neighbor of “large-scale subversive acts” near the border, adding that its military positions “were attacked, including with mortars (…) and , as a result, there are losses of personnel and damage to the military infrastructure”.
After the resumption of hostilities, both the European Union and the United States called for the immediate cessation of fighting in a conflict that has an important international dimension, since Armenia is backed by Russia, which maintains a major military base in the country, while Azerbaijan is backed by Turkey. Moscow maintains considerable weight in that region, which it considers to be part of its natural area of influence, through the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the supranational security organization with which it keeps the countries of the Caucasus under its thumb. .
Turkey, for its part, supports Azerbaijan, a country with which it maintains great cultural and linguistic proximity – the Azeris are a Turkic people. This support for the two neighbors in dispute is especially relevant due to the confrontation between Moscow and the West over the war in Ukraine. Ankara has tried to maintain a certain neutrality towards Russia and not to confront Russia directly, but the festering conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan could strain the bilateral relationship.
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The defense ministers of Russia and Armenia spoke this Tuesday morning and agreed to take measures to “stabilize the situation on the Armenian-Azeri border,” reported the Armenian Defense Ministry, which did not specify, however, what these measures consist of. . Later, in a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it had mediated the ceasefire agreed on Tuesday and said it expected both parties to comply with the terms of the agreement. For his part, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, assured that he had discussed with his Azeri counterpart about “the Armenian provocations on the border with Azerbaijan and asked that country to focus on peace negotiations with its neighbor .
The last military confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan for control of Nagorno-Karabakh occurred in 2020. In those hostilities, which lasted several weeks, thousands of people died. Tuesday’s bombings feed fears that a second war could break out in the post-Soviet space, in addition to the one that has been staged in Ukraine for more than six months.