The leader of Nagorno-Karabakh, Arajik Harutiunian, confirmed that Azerbaijani troops had taken over part of the enclave’s territory: the new battles are a result of the escalation of the conflict that has been going on since 1988 around the region, inhabited primarily by Armenians but formally part of Azerbaijan. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan announced martial law on Sunday. In the clashes – as confirmed by the Nagorno-Karabakh leader – not only the military but also civilians suffered.
On Sunday afternoon, Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev signed decree on the introduction of martial law on the entire territory of the country at midnight on Monday.
A curfew has also been introduced in many cities, including the capital city of Baku, valid between 21:00 and 6:00.
Earlier on Sunday Martial law was imposed by Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and they also announced general mobilization.
According to the statements of representatives of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh authorities, they died in the Sunday battles of Azerbaijani and Armenian troops at least 16 soldiers and a few civilians.
The Armenian Ministry of Defense also announced that it is checking reports that on the side of Azerbaijan forces in Nagorno-Karabakh militants from Syria also fought.
Hikmen Hajiyev, political advisor to Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev, in turn assessed this information – from the Syrian Human Rights Observatory – as “nonsensical”.
As Reuters emphasizes, Sunday the clashes between the forces of both countries were the toughest since 2016. Fighting has renewed concerns about stability in the South Caucasus, which is a corridor for pipelines transporting oil and gas to global markets.
The armed conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh broke out in 1988, before the collapse of the USSR, and the clashes turned into the war between the already independent Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The enclave, unrecognized by the world, is mostly inhabited and controlled by Armenians, but formally – although it has declared secession – it remains part of Azerbaijan.
The armed conflict over this territory has already swallowed up about 30,000 fatalities.
In 1994, an armistice was signed, but clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan forces have intensified in recent months.
Both countries they accuse each other of escalating the conflict.
According to Yerevan, Azerbaijani forces attacked civilian settlements in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. In turn, the Ministry of Defense in Baku emphasizes that Armenia’s armed forces “carried out large provocations” and fired on positions of the Azerbaijani army and border towns.
On Sunday UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called Azerbaijan and Armenia-backed separatist forces of Nagorno-Karabakh to “immediate cessation of fighting, engage in de-escalating tension and quick return to negotiations. “
Guterres intends to meet the Prime Minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, and the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.
Polish diplomatic missions reacted to the escalation of the conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Baku has issued a recommendation to avoid travel outside the Apsheronian Peninsula.
“Due to the tense situation along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the declaration of martial law, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Baku recommends avoiding travel outside the Apsheronian Peninsula. Please be very careful, avoid crowds and keep track of information “ – said the Polish office.
Earlier also Polish embassy in Armenia she appealed to Poles living in this country o particular caution and compliance with the recommendations of local authorities for foreigners, if they appear.