Latest clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia left around 160 dead in two days of fighting
The fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia has left around 160 military casualties in total from both sides, since it began on Tuesday. Armenia said 105 Armenian soldiers have been killed during Azerbaijani attacks, while Azerbaijan claimed 54 casualties so far.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Wednesday said Azerbaijan has occupied 10 square kilometers of territory in its latest attack on Armenia’s sovereign territory, according to armenpress.
Armenia that accuses its rival of launching coordinated attacks, called on international community to “force” Azerbaijani troops’ withdrawal. Azerbaijan on the other hand which says the clashes started upon “Armenian provocations,” urged Armenia “to refrain from its destructive activities and observe a humanitarian ceasefire.”
New clashes erupted between the two regional rivals on early Tuesday, which was seen as the most violent confrontation since the six-week war of autumn 2020 over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Azerbaijan Defense Ministry blamed Armenian armed forces of a series of “large-scale provocations” and said it has taken “retaliatory measures aimed at ensuring the safety of Azerbaijan Army Units”. Denying the Azeri accusations, "Azerbaijan is trying to present all this as a response to alleged provocations by Armenia, but this is absolutely false information," Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Tuesday.
Armenia accused Azerbaijan for shelling Armenian positions in the direction of Sotk, Vardenis, Goris, Kapan, Artanish, Ishkhanasar, Jermuk and nearby settlements using UAVs and mortars.
Pashinyan on Wednesday said Azerbaijan has occupied ten square kilometers of territory in its latest attack on Armenia’s sovereign territory.
During the 2021 May incursion, the Azerbaijani side has also occupied 40 square kilometers of territory of Armenia, Pashinyan said during a speech in parliament.
“I have taken a responsibility on myself to go to heavy decisions for the sake of peace. But heavy decisions do not mean decisions opposing Armenia’s state interests. We must go to that decisions to guarantee Armenia’s security, lasting stability and peace. We can’t write a “peace treaty” under the headlines today, sign it, as a result of which a new war will start six years later. We want to sign a document as a result of which a lot of people will criticize us, a lot of people will insult us, a lot of people will call us “traitors”, people even may decide to remove us from power. We will be satisfied and grateful if as a result of it the Republic of Armenia with 29,800 square km territory receives lasting peace and security. The decision which will ensure this, I say very clearly, I will sign. I am not interested in what will happen to me, I am interested in what will happen to Armenia”, he said.
On Wednesday, Alen Simonyan, the head of Armenian parliament said civilians were killed as a result of Azerbaijani attacks.
“Azerbaijani forces are also deliberately targeting and shelling civil infrastructures. The Armenian side has suffered casualties, including among civilians,” he said.
Azerbaijan denied the accusations of targeting civil infrastructures as saying it is “baseless.”
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said “This is provocative disinformation from the other side. We state once again that units of the Azerbaijani army do not target civilian infrastructure.”
At the second day of the fighting, Azerbaijan’s State Commission on Prisoners and Missing Citizens Taken as Hostages said it is ready to “unilaterally hand over the bodies of up to 100 Armenian servicemen who died as a result of the prevention of provocation against the territorial integrity of our country on 12–13 September of this year."
In September 2020, Azerbaijan and Armenia fought over the Nagorno-Karabakh. The six weeks of clashes resulted with a Russia brokered truce agreement and Armenia gave back territories in the region as part of the deal. Ankara sided with Baku in the conflict, providing military support to Azerbaijan.