New clashes erupted this morning between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh border region, Reuters news agency reported, citing Russian media, a day after the killing of at least 100 soldiers in the heaviest fighting between the two neighboring countries since the last war between them in 2020.
The renewed clashes come while diplomatic efforts continue to contain the crisis between the two countries. After Russia announced a truce, the Council of the Organization for Security and Collective Cooperation discussed this crisis, ahead of another session expected today of the UN Security Council.
Armenia said at least 49 of its soldiers were killed in the clashes, while Azerbaijan reported the deaths of 50 of its soldiers on Tuesday, blaming each other for renewed fighting that prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to call for calm.
The Armenian Defense Ministry said – in a statement – that Azerbaijan used artillery, mortars and small arms in its attack on Wednesday morning.
“The situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border is still tense,” she added, reiterating her position that it was Baku who started the attack on its sovereign land.
On Tuesday, Chairman of the International Committee of the Russian Federation Council Grigory Karasin confirmed that President Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had agreed – during a telephone conversation – to “implement the ceasefire.”
The Collective Security Treaty Organization (a military alliance led by Russia), which is made up of former Soviet states and includes Armenia, but not Azerbaijan, met on Tuesday evening to discuss the situation.
The OIC General Secretariat said that Putin informed the OIC committee members of the additional practical steps taken by the Russian side to calm down, adding that the OIC Collective Security Council will send a mission to Armenia.
“It is natural that the President (Vladimir Putin) will do everything in his power to help de-escalate tensions on the border,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan “must be resolved exclusively through political and diplomatic means.”
The Defense Ministers of Armenia and Russia spoke on Tuesday morning, and agreed to take steps to achieve stability on the borders, while Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called his Azerbaijani counterpart Jehon Peramov, and called on Armenia to “stop its provocations.”
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan of attacking Armenian towns; Because it does not want to negotiate the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, he said in a speech to Parliament, “The hostilities have subsided, but the attacks on one or two fronts from Azerbaijan continue.”
At the request of France, the UN Security Council is expected to hold a session on Wednesday to discuss the escalation.
In Washington, the Coordinator of Strategic Communications in the US National Security Council, John Kirby, said that Washington is concerned about the continuation of mutual attacks on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border.
“We are always concerned that Russia is somehow trying to stir up the situation to divert attention from what’s going on in Ukraine,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told reporters, adding that Moscow could also use its influence to help “de-escalate the situation.”
For his part, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that Antonio Guterres is deeply concerned about the renewed fighting along the Armenian-Azerbaijan border, calling on the two sides to de-escalate tensions, exercise maximum restraint and resolve any outstanding issues through dialogue.