Azerbaijan and the Armenian separatists in Nagorno Karabakh claimed on Tuesday that they had mutually caused heavy losses, on the third day of heavy fighting in this enclave, despite calls from the United States, Russia or Germany to end them.
Several foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for an immediate ceasefire.
(In context: The keys to the escalation of violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan)
The UN Security Council meets urgently on Tuesday night to try to avoid an open war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which could destabilize the region and implicate Russia and Turkey, the regional powers.
The Kremlin asked Turkey on Tuesday to refrain from “add fuel to the fire” and to work for peace in Nagorno Karabakh. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had called on Armenia to end “the occupation of Nagorno Karabakh” and promised that Ankara would remain “by the side” of Baku “by all means”.
For his part, the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliev, thanked the “support” of countries “siblings“(Turkey and Pakistan) and said that” if the international community is not able to stop the irresponsible dictator of Armenia, then Azerbaijan will “and”will restore its territorial integrity“.
(It may interest you: The fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan intensifies)
Since Sunday, the forces of the separatist enclave of Nagorno Karabakh, supported politically, militarily and economically by Armenia, and those of Azerbaijan have clashed in the deadliest fighting since 2016.
As of Tuesday, the official death toll was 99, including 15 civilians (10 from Azerbaijan and five from Armenia.). But both sides claim to have killed hundreds of enemy soldiers.
Armenia’s Defense Minister said Tuesday that separatists had destroyed 49 drones, four helicopters, 80 tanks, a military plane and 82 Azerbaijani military vehicles since Sunday.
Nagorno Karabakh authorities say they have regained positions lost the previous day, which Azerbaijan denies, claiming they made further progress and destroyed “An Armenian motorized column and an artillery unit”.
(It may interest you: Escalation of violence in Azerbaijan and Armenia worries the world)
For its part, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan assured that the “fierce fighting” continued until Tuesday morning and that their forces had destroyed “an Armenian motorized column”, “an artillery unit” as well as four enemy tanks and an armored vehicle.
Failure of peace efforts
Azerbaijan, a Turkish-speaking country with a Shiite majority, is demanding the return under its control of Nagorno Karabakh, a mountainous province populated mainly by Christian Armenians, whose secession in 1991 was not recognized by the international community.
After weeks of war rhetoric, Azerbaijan announced on Sunday that it had launched a major “counteroffensive” in response to “assault” Armenia, using artillery, tanks and aircraft in attacks against the province, which it has not controlled since the fall of the Soviet Union and a war that claimed 30,000 lives.
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Russia, France and the United States – the three mediators in the conflict within the so-called Minsk Group – unsuccessfully called for a ceasefire and negotiations. “Both sides must stop the violence and work with the Minsk Group (…) to resume substantial negotiations as soon as possible“US chief of diplomacy Mike Pompeo said Tuesday on the second day of a visit to Greece.
For her part, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that “An immediate ceasefire and a return to the negotiating table is urgent” in two separate telephone conversations with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh accuse Ankara of supplying weapons, “military specialists”, drone and aircraft pilots to Baku, which Azerbaijan denies.
Russia maintains good relations with the two belligerents and wants to be the regional referee. However, it remains closer to Armenia, which belongs to a Moscow-dominated military alliance. All mediation efforts for almost 30 years have failed to resolve this conflict and Nagorno Karabakh is regularly rocked by outbreaks of violence.
Both states declared martial law on Sunday and Armenia declared general mobilization. Azerbaijan has imposed a curfew on parts of the country, including its capital.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, asked “the protection of the civilian population “and” avoid damage to critical civil infrastructure “. An emergency closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council on the conflict will be held on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. GMT.
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