In the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict area, many people were injured and killed after new battles. Numerous countries are calling on Armenia and Azerbaijan to de-escalate and to mediate.
After fierce fighting with countless dead and wounded in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict region, Armenia and Azerbaijan are now in warring neighboring countries the state of war. In Azerbaijan, this went into effect Monday evening, as President Ilham Aliyev decided over the weekend. In the former Soviet Republic there are said to be curfews in some parts of the country. In Armenia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan mobilized the population of Yerevan on Sunday and declared war across the country. Azerbaijan had previously launched a military operation against Nagorno-Karabakh, taking several villages.
The worst escalation in decades
According to both sides, the fighting broke out early on Sunday morning between the warring countries. The capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, is said to have been shelled. Pashinyan saw the battles as a declaration of war against his people.
The Armenian-controlled region with an estimated 145,000 inhabitants is part of Islamic Azerbaijan under international law. It’s the worst escalation in decades.
According to official information, 16 soldiers were shot dead and more than 100 injured in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan announced that five people were killed and injured in its own ranks. Armenia claimed that 200 soldiers had been killed on the other side. However, Baku did not confirm this. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, civilians are also among the victims.
Both sides blamed each other for the fighting. Armenia claimed on Sunday evening that Turkey would have backed Azerbaijan. The Ministry of Defense in Yerevan has information about this; that, for example, Turkish weapons have been used. Prime Minister Pashinyan also emphasized during a telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron that Turkey was behaving very aggressively. Ankara must be prevented from getting involved in this conflict. So far there has been no response from Turkey.
Heiko Maas: The German Foreign Minister stressed that the Minsk OSCE Group with its three co-chairs France, Russia and the US was ready for negotiations. (Source: photothek / image images)
Maas: be ready for negotiations
The EU, Germany and Russia called on the parties to the conflict to immediately stop fighting and return to the negotiating table. Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas (SPD) emphasized that the OSCE group of Minsk with its three co-chairs France, Russia and the US was ready for negotiations. The OSCE is the organization for security and cooperation in Europe. Iran, which has good relations with both countries, also offered itself as a mediator.
Baku lost control of the area inhabited by Christian Karabakh Armenians in a war following the collapse of the Soviet Union. A ceasefire has existed in the region since 1994, but this has been broken several times. The conflict last flared up sharply in 2016 – more than 120 people died. The completely impoverished Armenia counts on Russia as a protective force, which has stationed thousands of soldiers and weapons there. The oil and gas rich Azerbaijan has Turkey as an allied brother state.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised against traveling to the region. “Travel to the vicinity of the Line of Contact around Nagorno-Karabakh and the occupied territories, as well as to the entire border area with Armenia is strongly discouraged,” the travel and security information said early Sunday evening. The same goes for travel to the whole border area on the Armenian side. Access to Nagorno-Karabakh without a corresponding Azerbaijani license is a criminal offense under Azerbaijani law, it is also said.