At least two civilians were killed and 23 others injured according to Armenian separatists based in the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave after the military operation carried out since Tuesday morning by the armed forces of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan launched a military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday, September 19, and demanded the “total and unconditional” withdrawal of its Armenian adversary, with whom it has disputed this region for decades. An intervention which once again revives the strong tensions between the two countries.
At least 2 civilians killed and 23 injured in military operation
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry spoke on Tuesday morning of the launch of “anti-terrorist operations” to put “the positions of the Armenian armed forces” out of harm’s way.
Armenian separatists present in this enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh claimed that the capital Stepanakert and other towns were targeted by “intensive fire”, accusing Azerbaijan of carrying out “a large-scale military operation”.
The separatists announced that the fighting left at least 5 dead and 80 injured.
Tensions that bring back the 2020 conflict
Baku justified its operation by the death of four police officers and two Azerbaijani civilians in the explosion of mines on the site of a tunnel under construction between Shusha and Fizouli, two towns in Nagorno Karabakh under Azerbaijan control. Azerbaijani security services believe that a group of Armenian separatist “saboteurs” laid these mines, committing an act of “terrorism”.
Azerbaijani authorities also accused the Armenian army of injuring two Azerbaijani soldiers during mortar and small arms fire in northeastern Karabakh, and of firing at night with small arms towards positions of Azerbaijan in the Gadabay district, on the border between the two countries.
Azerbaijan also accuses Armenian separatists of having targeted – via radio interference – the GPS system of an Azerbaijani airliner.
The previous conflict, in 2020, resulted in an Armenian military rout, with Yerevan having to cede territories in and around Nagorno-Karabakh to Baku. A Russian-brokered ceasefire was signed, involving the deployment of Russian peacekeepers, but the belligerents never reached a peace agreement.
Armenia denounces calls for a “coup”
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinan, who convened his Security Council, also denounced calls for a “coup d’etat” in Armenia, while television reported hundreds of demonstrators massed in front of the government headquarters.
Yerevan accuses Baku of provoking a humanitarian crisis for the purposes of ethnic cleansing by blocking the Lachin corridor, the only road linking Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, which caused serious shortages of food and medicine. However, tensions had decreased a notch on Monday with the arrival of humanitarian aid in the enclave.
Azerbaijan, which promised Tuesday afternoon to respect the “rights and security” of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, called on the separatist forces to “lay down their arms” with a view to proposing talks.
Paris wants an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council
Azerbaijan said it had informed Russia and Turkey of its operations in the enclave, and Moscow then said it had only been warned “a few minutes” before their start. The Kremlin, “concerned”, said through its spokesperson that it was trying to convince Armenia and Azerbaijan to return “to the negotiating table”.
France, through Catherine Colonna, requested “the emergency convening of a meeting of the United Nations Security Council”, condemning the military operation of Azerbaijan, held “responsible for the fate of the populations .
“This offensive must stop immediately,” wrote the Minister of Foreign Affairs on X, formerly Twitter.
At the same time, the Armenian Prime Minister spoke on the telephone with Emmanuel Macron about the military operation launched by Azerbaijan, calling for “de-escalation”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he would contact both parties. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, who has led mediation in the past between the two countries, judged that Azerbaijan must “immediately” cease its operation.
Source: BFM TV