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Armenia, Azerbaijan report 99 troops killed in border conflict

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YEREVAN, Armenia — Combating on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan has killed about 100 troops as assaults on either side Tuesday fed fears of broader hostilities breaking out between the longtime adversaries.

Armenia stated at the least 49 of its troopers had been killed; Azerbaijan stated it misplaced 50.

The preventing erupted minutes after midnight with Azerbaijani forces unleashing an artillery barrage and drone assaults in lots of sections of Armenian territory, in accordance with Armenia’s Protection Ministry.

The ministry stated preventing continued through the day regardless of Russia’s try to dealer a fast cease-fire. Shelling grew much less intense however Azerbaijani troops nonetheless had been making an attempt to advance into Armenian territory, it stated.

It added that the Azerbaijani shelling broken civilian infrastructure and wounded an unspecified variety of folks.

Azerbaijan’s Overseas Ministry stated it was responding to a “large-scale provocation” by Armenia late Monday and early Tuesday. It stated Armenian troops planted mines and fired on Azerbaijani navy positions.

The 2 nations have been locked in a decades-old battle over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is a part of Azerbaijan however has been underneath the management of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist warfare there led to 1994.

Azerbaijan reclaimed broad swaths of Nagorno-Karabakh in a six-week warfare in 2020 that killed greater than 6,600 folks and ended with a Russia-brokered peace deal. Moscow, which deployed about 2,000 troops to the area to function peacekeepers underneath the deal, has sought to keep up pleasant ties with each ex-Soviet nations.

The Russian Overseas Ministry urged each events “to chorus from additional escalation and present restraint.” Moscow has engaged in a fragile balancing act, sustaining robust financial and safety ties with Armenia, which hosts a Russian navy base, whereas additionally creating shut cooperation with oil-rich Azerbaijan.

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Because the preventing raged in a single day Tuesday, Pashinyan rapidly known as Russian President Vladimir Putin and later additionally had calls with French President Emmanuel Macron, European Council President Charles Michel, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to debate the hostilities.

Blinken additionally spoke with Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev. Russian Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by cellphone along with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Jeyhun Bayramov, Azerbaijan’s Overseas Ministry stated.

Talking in parliament early Tuesday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan rejected the Azerbaijani declare that it was responding to Armenian provocations. He stated his latest European Union-brokered talks with Aliyev in Brussels had revealed what he described as Azerbaijan’s uncompromising stand.

On Fb, Aliyev expressed condolences “to the households and family members of our servicemen who died on September 13 whereas stopping large-scale provocations dedicated by the Armenian armed forces within the path of the Kalbajar, Lachin, Dashkasan and Zangilan areas of Azerbaijan.”

Turkey, an ally of Azerbaijan, additionally positioned the blame for the violence on Armenia. Turkish Overseas Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu known as for Yerevan to halt its “provocations,” and Protection Minister Hulusi Akar condemned “Armenia’s aggressive angle and provocative actions.”

The governor of Gegharkunik province, one of many areas that got here underneath Azerbaijani shelling, stated there was a 40-minute lull within the preventing, apparently reflecting Moscow’s try to barter a truce, earlier than it later resumed.

The governor, Karen Sarkisyan, stated that 4 Armenian troops in his area had been killed and one other 43 had been wounded by the shelling.

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The Armenian authorities stated it could formally ask Russia for help underneath a friendship treaty between the nations and in addition attraction to the United Nations and the Collective Safety Treaty Group, a Moscow-dominated safety alliance of ex-Soviet nations that features Armenia.

The Armenian Overseas Ministry stated prime officers from the safety grouping held a gathering to debate the preventing. Armenia’s consultant there emphasised that Yerevan expects its allies to take “environment friendly collective steps to make sure safety, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Armenia.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov kept away from touch upon Armenia’s request however added throughout a convention name with reporters that Putin was “taking each effort to assist de-escalate tensions.”

Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.

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