Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe funeral in Azerbaijan for one of the dead soldiers Azerbaijan says one of its generals and five other officers have been killed in a third day of fighting with Armenian forces on the countries’ border. An Azeri private also died, bringing the Azeri death toll so
Azerbaijan says one of its generals and five other officers have been killed in a third day of fighting with Armenian forces on the countries’ border.
An Azeri private also died, bringing the Azeri death toll so far to 11. Armenia says two Armenian officers were killed.
Both countries were part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in the 1990s.
They fought a bloody war over a disputed territory, which remains unresolved.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but is controlled by ethnic Armenians.
This clash, however, took place north of this disputed territory.
Azerbaijan says heavy fighting is continuing in Tovuz district, bordering on Tavush in north-eastern Armenia.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Russia was “deeply concerned” about the outbreak of violence and was willing to mediate.
“We urge both parties to show restraint and to comply with their obligations under the ceasefire.”
A US state department release on Monday said the country “condemns in the strongest terms the violence along the Armenia-Azerbaijan international border” and called on both sides to stop the fighting and abide by the ceasefire.
What’s happening on the border?
Both sides accuse each other of shelling civilian areas on the border.
Azerbaijan’s defence ministry said a 76-year-old man was killed in the village of Agdam, by Armenian shelling.
Earlier the ministry said four Azeri troops had been killed in clashes on Sunday and Monday, involving tanks and artillery.
Meanwhile, Armenia accused Azerbaijan of shelling the town of Berd.
Azerbaijan’s military said it had destroyed an Armenian fortification and artillery and had inflicted casualties on “hundreds” of Armenian troops. Armenia denied suffering any casualties on that scale, but reported several wounded besides the two officers killed.
Among the six Azeri officers killed were Maj-Gen Polad Hashimov and Col Ilgar Mirzayev.
Armenia named its dead officers as Maj Garoush Hambardzumyan and Capt Sos Elbakyan.
At an emergency meeting on Monday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said: “Armenia’s political and military leadership will bear the entire responsibility for the provocation.”
Armenia, however, accused its neighbour of “using artillery in an attack aimed at capturing [Armenian] positions”.
“This aggression against the security of the civilian population of Armenia will receive a proportionate response, for which the Azerbaijani side bears full responsibility,” an Armenia foreign ministry spokeswoman said in a statement.
What’s the history?
The two ex-Soviet republics in the Caucasus fought a bitter war in the 1990s, when Armenia backed the majority ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. A fragile ceasefire was agreed in 1994.
Tensions last flared into conflict in 2016, with the countries clashing over the disputed territory for four days. The BBC reported from both sides of the fighting.
- Nagorno-Karabakh: BBC visits Azerbaijan’s side of frontline
- Nagorno-Karabakh: Fighting mood grips Armenians
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has long been trying to mediate a settlement of the conflict, with diplomats from France, Russia and the US – making up the OSCE Minsk Group – trying to build on the ceasefire.
On 6 July, President Aliyev said peace talks with Armenia to settle the long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict had stalled.
He called recent talks between the countries’ foreign ministers “pointless”.