Control has been established on several significant heightsincluding hills, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding that its forces were fortifying those positions.
Earlier on Wednesday, both sides reported the deaths of at least two Armenian separatists and an Azerbaijani soldier in violence around Karabakh that raises the specter of a new war after that of 2020.
Peace talks compromised?
These incidents are also likely to weigh on the peace talks which have been taking place for several months between Azerbaijan and Armenia, two rival ex-Soviet republics in the Caucasus, with the mediation of the European Union.
Russia, which sponsored the ceasefire that ended the 2020 war and deployed a peacekeeping force in Karabakh, accused Azerbaijani forces of violating the truce in the Saribaba area.
Moscow, which considers the Caucasus region as its backyard, is taking
measures to stabilize the situationthe Russian Defense Ministry added in a statement.
The European Union, for its part, has called for
immediate cessation of hostilities.
It is essential to de-escalate, fully respect the ceasefire and return to the negotiating table to seek negotiated solutionssaid Peter Stano, the spokesman for the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, in a press release.
On Wednesday, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced the death of a conscript after
heavy fire targeted an Azerbaijani army position in the Lachin district, a buffer zone between the Armenian border and Nagorny Karabakh.
Azerbaijan claimed to have carried out in retaliation an operation dubbed
several combat positions of illegal Armenian armed elements were destroyed.
The Ministry of Defense published a video in which we see several explosions presented as being the result of strikes on the Armenian positions.
Two members of the Armenian separatist forces were killed and 14 wounded, authorities in the enclave said, denouncing a
flagrant violation of the ceasefire.
Faced with this situation, the Armenian Foreign Ministry urged the international community to take measures to stop
Azerbaijan’s aggressive attitude and actions.
Sign of the escalation of tensions, the leader of the separatists of Nagorny Karabakh, Arayik Haroutiounian, signed a decree on Wednesday proclaiming a partial military mobilization in this territory, according to the website of the presidency.
After a first war that killed more than 30,000 people in the early 1990s, Armenia and Azerbaijan clashed again in the fall of 2020 for control of Nagorny Karabakh, a mountainous region which, supported by Yerevan , had seceded from Azerbaijan.
More than 6500 people were killed in this new war lost by Armenia.
A Bitter Tasting Ceasefire
As part of a ceasefire agreement brokered by Moscow, which deployed peacekeepers to Nagorny Karabakh, Yerevan ceded significant territory to Azerbaijan.
This ceasefire agreement was experienced as a humiliation in Armenia, where several opposition parties have been demanding since the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, whom they accuse of having made too many concessions to Baku.
Despite a timid diplomatic relaxation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, tensions remain strong between the two former Soviet republics. Both countries regularly report outbreaks of violence and casualties among soldiers.
Under the mediation of the European Union, the two countries are conducting negotiations to reach a peace treaty.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev held talks in Brussels in April and May with Pashinyan. According to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the two leaders could meet again this summer.
The foreign ministers of the two countries also met last month in Georgia for their first direct talks since the end of the 2020 war.