Tension skyrocketing in the Caucasus. Armenia and Azerbaijan are the protagonists of several firefights in the autonomous region of Nagorno Karabakh. The Azerbaijani army bombed the positions of the Armenian independence forces and then launched a counter offensive, in response to the Armenian forces that had attacked during the night.
The Armenian separatists claim to have inflicted numerous victims on the enemy.
The Armenian defence ministry from Yerevan reports that two Azerbaijani military helicopters have been shot down.
Armenian separatists from the Azerbaijani autonomous region of Nagorno Karabakh declared martial law and “general mobilization” following the Azerbaijani counter-offensive.
The civilian population occupying the territory has been hit several times on both sides.
From the first assessments, civilian casualties appear to be numerous.
At dawn, Azerbaijani forces began an offensive in the disputed autonomous region of Nagorno Karabakh to “neutralize Armenia’s war forces and safeguard the civilian population,” said a statement from the Baku government.
“We are all united behind our state and our army (…) and we will win. Long live the glorious Armenian army”, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan posted on Facebook after news of the two Azerbaijani helicopters shot down. The purposes of this escalation therefore seem clear and delineated. This is the worst Armenian-Azerbaijani crisis since 2016.
The two former Caucasian Soviet republics fought a bloody war in the 1990s, which claimed the lives of around 30,000 people. As a result, the Armenian separatists took control of the Azerbaijani region of Nagorno Karabakh in 1991, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
A ceasefire agreement between the two countries has been in force since 1994, but they have never achieved real peace, despite the mediation of the United States, France and Russia through the so-called Minsk Group.
Further information and developments from this new front are awaited.