Armenia, Azerbaijan keep up deadly fight for disputed region
Armenian and Azerbaijani forces kept fighting on Monday over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh after hostilities broke out the day before, with both sides blaming each other for resuming the deadly attacks.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that Armenian forces started shelling the town of Tartar early Monday, while Armenian officials said the fighting continued throughout the night and Baku resumed “offensive actions” in the morning.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry told the Interfax news agency on Monday that over 550 Armenian troops have been “destroyed (including those wounded),” a claim that Armenian officials denied.
According to Nagorno-Karabakh officials, 59 servicemen on their side have been killed so far. On Sunday, the territory’s defense ministry also reported two civilian deaths.
The general prosecutor’s office in Azerbaijan said two Azeri civilians were killed on Monday, after five civilians were killed on Sunday.
The heavy fighting broke out on Sunday morning in the region that lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since 1994 at the end of a separatist war.
An all-out war could drag in major regional powers Russia and Turkey. Moscow has a defence alliance with Armenia, while Ankara backs its ethnic Turkic kin in Azerbaijan.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh “is a cause for concern for Moscow and other countries.”
“We believe that the hostilities should be immediately ended,” Peskov said, adding that the process of resolving the conflict should shift into “a politico-diplomatic” dimension.