Fighting begins again between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Fighting has resumed between Armenia and Azerbaijan after a year of relative calm on the border, established when Yerevan capitulated in the war over Nagorno-Karabakh.

A series of armed incidents and occasional firefights that began a week ago escalated into full-fledged clashes on Tuesday with the use of large-caliber weapons, mortars and human casualties.

The Armenian Defense Ministry reported that at about 13.00 Moscow time, Azerbaijani Armed Forces units fired at Armenian positions, and then began to use artillery and armored vehicles.

Eduard Aghajanyan, a deputy of the Civil Contract faction in the Armenian parliament, said that the Azerbaijani military "occupied about 41 square km of Armenian territory" in about different 11 areas.

"Despite the call to send a CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) observation mission to the border, the CSTO is still, unfortunately, not involved. I call on the Armenian government to take the initiative to send a CSTO observation mission to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border," he said.

A few hours later, Yerevan requested military assistance from Russia through the security council.

"Since the attack was committed on the sovereign territory of Armenia, according to the agreement of 1997, we appeal to the Russian Federation to protect the territorial integrity of Armenia," said Secretary of the Security Council Armen Grigoryan, adding that a written appeal is currently being prepared.

Article 3 of the treaty, signed by Boris Yeltsin and Levon Ter-Petrosyan, states that Moscow and Yerevan "will jointly take all measures available to them to counter acts of aggression against them by any state or group of states and will provide each other with the necessary assistance, including military, to exercise the right to collective self-defence in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter”.

Armenia considers it possible to resolve the crisis with the help of Russia and the CSTO structures, but if this does not happen, we will be forced to turn to international organizations, Grigoryan said.

At 16.00 Moscow time, according to the Armenian Ministry of Defense, the Armenian forces suffered casualties and there were some wounded.  12 soldiers, including contractors were captured.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry blamed the Armenian military for what was happening, saying that they had launched an operation to seize heights on the Kelbajar and Lachin sections of the border. The positions of the Azerbaijani army, according to Baku, were subjected to intensive shelling from various types of large-caliber weapons and grenade launchers, as a result of which two servicemen were injured.

  Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia

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