Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has declared martial law and after the armed conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh aggravated.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has declared martial law and mobilisation of reserve forces on Sunday after the armed conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh aggravated.
Mr. Nikol Pashinyan said earlier on Sunday that the Azerbaijani armed forces had launched an offensive against the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Russia's TASS agency reported the incident quoting Mr. Pashinyan's post on Facebook.
Mr. Shushan Stepanyan, press secretary of the Ministry of Defense of the republic, said that the Armenian army destroyed two helicopters and three drones of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces during the fighting in Karabakh. The Armenian Defense Ministry has released a video of the destruction of three Azerbaijani tanks.
The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan reported that Armenia began intensive shelling of positions of the Azerbaijani army and settlements. There are killed and wounded. “The Azeri army suppressed the combat activities of the Armed Forces of Armenia,” the author of the TASS wire report quoted a statement of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry’s officials.
Conflicted Countries Run the Battle Against The Pandemic
The conflict erupted as both countries are dealing with the heavy death toll, a consequence of the pandemic of the Wuhan virus. More than 46,000 infections and over 920 deaths affected Armenia, the country of just under 3 million. On Sunday morning, the Azerbaijan government informed about 108 new cases of the infection. Up until now, 39,895 people have been infected with the virus in Azerbaijan — 37,523 of them have recovered, and 585 people have died.
The Ombudsman of Nagorno-Karabakh called on the population to remain "calm and cautious." According to the Deutsche Welle correspondent, in the city of Shushi in the disputed region, residents took refuge in shelters. Armenia and the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, on the one hand, and Azerbaijan established the ceasefire in May 1994. The OSCE Minsk Group, created in 1992, mediates negotiations on a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group includes eight European countries. Russia, France, and the United States chair the group of the peace negotiators. At the same time, as the report of the information agency notes, Azerbaijan does not consider the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic a party to the conflict and refuses to negotiate with it.
The Broader Context: Russia's confrontation with Turkey and Iran
In recent months, clashes between the armed forces of the two states have become more intense. Thus, in mid-July, mutual artillery shelling continued for several days, Seventeen people were killed, mostly soldiers from both countries. It is also known about the death of one civilian. It was the most acute armed confrontation in the past four years.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated that after the July aggravation, Russia was sending more sophisticated military equipment to Armenia. Western media draw attention to the fact that Russia, which has its military base in Armenia, regards this country as its strategic partner in the region. But Azerbaijan with its history of Islam in Minor Asia is a close ally of Turkey and Iran.
Separatists seized and declared independent Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions of Azerbaijan during the armed conflict of 1988-1994. At that time, at least 30 thousand people died on both sides, and hundreds of thousands became refugees.
The most recent history of the region that goes to the beginning of our era explains the antagonisms of both nations. Tsarists Russia acquired the region in 1813, and the Soviet Bolshevik regime established it as an Armenian-majority autonomous oblast of the Azarbaijan Soviet republic. Some historians compare the idea of a forced merger of the culturally different minority into an almost homogeneous Islamic population of the Azeri nation to the concept of Islamic "Palestine" within the newly created state of Israel. With problems and hidden conflicts, Nagorno-Karabakh survived without armed conflict until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 when the ethnic antagonisms between Armenians and Azerbaijanis grew inflamed, and when Armenians and Azerbaijanis in the enclave went to war.