village of Sotk in the Gegharkunik region

At Least 49 Armenian Soldiers Killed In Fresh Fighting With Azerbaijan

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Armenia lost at least 49 soldiers in the latest border clashes with Azerbaijan early on September 13, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said, amid international calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the two Caucasus archenemies.

There have been frequent flare-ups along their shared border since the end of the 2020 war between Yerevan and Baku over Azerbaijan’s breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan blamed each other for the latest escalation in the decades-old dispute between the countries over Nagorno-Karabakh.

In a speech to Armenia’s parliament, Pashinian said Baku had attacked Armenia’s positions overnight and that fighting was ongoing.

“For the moment, we have 49 [soldiers] killed and unfortunately it’s not the final figure,” Pashinian told parliament.

Earlier, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said its forces were responding to Armenian provocations and denied claims that they were hitting civilian infrastructure.

“Azerbaijani armed forces are undertaking limited and targeted steps, neutralizing Armenian firing positions,” it said in a statement.

“There are losses among [Azerbaijani] servicemen,” the ministry said, without giving figures.

Pashinian on September 13 phoned world leaders to demand “an adequate reaction,” his office said. Pashinian called U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Armenian Defense Ministry also said the Russian and Armenian defense ministers spoke on September 13 and agreed to take steps to stabilize the situation on the border.

Earlier, Blinken in a statement called for an end to the conflict and voiced Washington’s “deep concern” over the situation, including “reported strikes against settlements and civilian infrastructure” in Armenia.

“As we have long made clear, there can be no military solution to the conflict,” Blinken said in a statement. “We urge an end to any military hostilities immediately.”

Turkey, Azerbaijan’s traditional ally, blamed Armenia for the latest flare-up, urging Yerevan to “cease provocations” against Baku.

“Armenia should cease its provocations and focus on peace negotiations and cooperation with Azerbaijan,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted after a phone call with Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov.

Armenia lost control over parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts after a six-week war in late 2020 that left more than 6,500 dead and ended in a Russia-brokered cease-fire. An estimated 2,000 Russian troops were deployed to monitor the situation.

The Armenian government said it would invoke a cooperation agreement with Moscow and appeal to the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization — a regional security bloc — as well as the United Nations Security Council.

The latest flare-up follows an outbreak of fighting on August 1-3 in which at least one Azerbaijani and two ethnic Armenian soldiers were killed.

The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan have met several times to hammer out a treaty intended to establish a lasting peace after the 2020 conflict.

The latest such meeting between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Pashinian took place on August 31 in Brussels and was brokered by the European Union.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP

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