A decades-old conflict could be on the verge of a reignite, as reports emerged this week of attacks along the Azerbaijan-Armenia border.
The Armenian Defense Ministry claimed that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces carried out artillery strikes against Armenian border towns on Tuesday morning. According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, the strike included drones and large-caliber firearms fired in the direction of Goris, Sotk and Jermuk.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry responded with a statement acknowledging the strikes, but said the strikes are “small-scale” and “aimed at ensuring the security of Azerbaijan’s borders”.
On Monday, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry accused Armenian forces of firing small arms towards the settlement of Novoivanovka in the Gadabay region and the settlement of Husulu in the Lachin region near the border of the two country. Armenia has denied the allegations.
In 2020, the two countries competed on the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, a landlocked area between Eastern Europe and Western Asia that is populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians but located within Azerbaijani territory.
Unrest in the region dates back decades and dates back to the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the region, backed by Armenia, declared independence from Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has long claimed it will take back the territory, which is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani.
On Tuesday, Armenia called on Russia to implement a 1997 defense treaty which states that countries will defend each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in case of attack by a foreign country.
“It was decided to formally request the Russian Federation to implement the provisions of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Security Council of the UN regarding the aggression against the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia,” reads a statement from the office of the Prime Minister of Armenia.
The request came after a session with the Armenian Security Council and a call between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a statement from Pashinyan’s office.
Russia previously deployed what it called peacekeeping forces to the region after brokering a ceasefire agreement in early November 2020, ending a nearly two-month conflict that has killed at least 6 500 people, according to Reuters.
Pashinyan also spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday, calling for an “adequate reaction” from the international community in response to what Pashinyan called “aggression launched by Azerbaijan against the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan.” ‘Armenia,” his office said in a statement. statement.
On Monday evening, Blinken called for an “immediate cessation of hostilities”.
“The United States is deeply concerned by reports of attacks along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, including reported strikes against settlements and civilian infrastructure inside Armenia,” Blinken said. in a press release. “As we have made clear for a long time, there can be no military solution to the conflict. We call for an immediate end to all military hostilities. »