Yerevan/Baku: On Monday, there was fierce fighting between the Azerbaijanis and Armenian forces. Despite international calls for an end to fighting between long-term enemies, Turkey sparked belligerent rhetoric from the regional power Turkey.
Yerevan and Baku have been locked in a territorial dispute in the Nagorny Karabakh region of Armenia for decades. Deadly fighting broke out in July and 2016.
In the war in the early 1990s, the region declared independence from Azerbaijan and claimed 30,000 lives, but it has not been recognized by any country, including Armenia, and the international community still regards it as part of Azerbaijan.
Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Alston Hofhannisyan said that on Monday night, the Azerbaijani army “launched a large-scale offensive in the southern and northeastern areas of the Karabakh front.”
The Karabakh Defense Ministry said that 26 more soldiers were killed on Monday night, bringing the total military losses of the rebels to 84.
The overall death toll rose to 95, including 11 civilian deaths: 9 deaths in Azerbaijan and 2 deaths on the Armenian side.
Azerbaijan has not reported any military casualties, but Armenian separatist officials released video showing burnt armored vehicles and the blood and charred remains of disguised soldiers, saying it was the Azerbaijani army
The fighting between the majority Muslim Azerbaijan and Christian Armenia may involve regional players such as Russia and Turkey.
Russia has formed a military alliance with Armenia and has a permanent military base there. Russia has sold billions of dollars worth of sophisticated weapons to Baku and Yerevan.
Armenia accused Turkey-supporting Turkic-speaking Azerbaijan-for intervening in the conflict.
Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev ordered a partial mobilization of the army on Monday, and General Barstarov vowed to “fight the last drop of blood to completely wipe out the enemy and win”.
Fearing that a full-scale conflict would break out, world leaders urged each other to respond calmly.
Diplomats told Agence France-Presse that the UN Security Council is scheduled to meet at 5:00 pm (2100 GMT) on Tuesday afternoon for an emergency dialogue after Karabakh closed.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia is closely monitoring the situation and that the current top priority is to “stop hostilities, not who is right and who is wrong.”
But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded Armenia end its “occupation” of Karabakh.
“The time has come for the crisis in the region that started with the occupation of Nagorny Karabakh to be put to an end,” Erdogan said.
“Now Azerbaijan must take matters into its own hands.”