ARMENIA/AZERBAIJAN: A military clash between troops of Armenia and Azerbaijan in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh resulted in the loss of three soldiers on Wednesday. Nagorno-Karabakh officials said the tensions escalated to an extreme as Azerbaijani forces conducted a military drone attack and wounded 14 of their soldiers, killing 2.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry initiated the confrontation saying one of their country’s service members died in what is allegedly a “terrorist attack” by “illegal Armenian military formations.” In response, the Azerbaijani military conducted a “retaliation operation”, killing and injuring an unspecified number of “illegal Armenian militants”.
On the Armenian front, Nagorno-Karabakh’s Separatist leader, Arayik Hartuyunyan announced a partial military mobilization on Wednesday to counteract Azerbaijani forces, igniting further tensions in the region.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have long been engaged in a decades-old dispute over the controversial region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which lies within Azerbaijan but was under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994.
In 2020, a war in the region claimed nearly 6,600 people. After six weeks of intense and brutal fighting, a peace deal mediated by Russia allowed Azerbaijan to reclaim control over large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and bordering areas that the Armenia-backed separatists controlled.
Moscow has sent some 2,000 troops it called ‘peacekeepers’ to the region, directly engaging itself in the ongoing conflict.
Officials in Armenia and Azerbaijan have continued to point fingers at each other over the renewed confrontations on Wednesday. The Russian Defense Ministry alleged it was Azerbaijan that violated the 2020 cease-fire.
Tensions have been rising on the two nations’ shared border since May of last year when Armenia accused Azerbaijani troops of illegal penetration into its territory.
Azerbaijan defended itself saying that its soldiers were deployed in areas where the border has yet to be demarcated.
Ever since last year, sporadic clashes have taken place in the region and will now simply escalate as these warring factions have stoked the fires again.
ALSO READ: Overview of the Iran-Azerbaijan Confrontation and the Regional Balance of Power