A military fight erupts between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh region
Clashes have erupted between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, with civilian deaths reported by both sides.
Armenia and Azerbaijan on Sunday accused each other of reigniting their decadeslong conflict in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh after fresh violence erupted in the breakaway region.
Armenia said Azerbaijan had launched an air and artillery attack. It later declared martial law and total military mobilization.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced in a televised address that Azerbaijan’s “authoritarian regime has once again declared war on the Armenian people.”
“We are on the brink of a full-scale war in the South Caucasus, which might have unpredictable consequences,” he added. “We are ready for this war.”
Azerbaijan, meanwhile, accused Armenian forces of launching “deliberate and targeted” attacks on Nagorno-Karabakh.
“There are reports of dead and wounded among civilians and military servicemen,” Azerbaijan’s president said.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry denied the claim that its helicopters and tanks had been hit and said it was conducting a counteroffensive on the front line.
By the afternoon, Azerbaijan claimed to have taken several villages in the region. “We have liberated six villages — five in Fizuli district and one in Jebrail district,” a ministry spokesman told AFP.
Why did the war start?
Both Armenia and Azerbaijan were part of the Soviet Union before its collapse in 1991.
For four decades they have been stuck in an unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but controlled by ethnic Armenians.
In July, a border fighting killed at least 16 people, prompting the largest popular demonstration for years in the Azerbaijani capital Baku calling for full mobilization and the recapture of the region.