The country launched a military operation in the Armenian-controlled enclave on Tuesday. Shooting and artillery attacks were reported in several cities.
More than 7,000 people have been evacuated from 16 villages following Azerbaijan’s military intervention, according to the separatist authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The figures are stated in a post on X from Gegham Stepanjanombudsman for human rights in the republic that calls itself Artsakh.
He also writes that unstable communication networks and lack of fuel make it difficult to map the consequences in the various inhabited areas in the region.
Azerbaijan entered the region with military forces on Tuesday. The separatist authorities have so far reported that 25 people, two of whom are civilians, have lost their lives in the fighting.
The figures have not been verified by independent sources.
The US, EU, Germany and France have all condemned the attack and are calling for dialogue. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken demands that Azerbaijan immediately stop the hostilities.
Russia has also demanded an end to the violence, but has chastised both sides for contributing to the escalation of the conflict in a region where they themselves are beginning to lose their grip.
– We are deeply concerned about the sharp escalation of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, says Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Armenia has asked the UN Security Council and Russia to intervene to stop the attacks. A spokesman for Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense claims on Tuesday evening that they have taken control of more than 60 positions from the separatist militia.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Armenian militia in the area reported that the shooting had subsided considerably.
Trying to mediate
According to President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russia is in contact with the parties in an attempt to resolve the conflict and ensure security for the civilian population in the area.
Russia has had a so-called peacekeeping force stationed in Nagorno-Karabakh since 2020. The Ministry of Defense says that on Tuesday they have helped treat the wounded and evacuate at least 469 civilian adults and children from the most dangerous areas.
Iran offers to mediate in the conflict. The country borders both Armenia and Azerbaijan and urges them to respect the 2020 ceasefire.
Erdogan: – Necessary
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a UN speech on Tuesday that Turkey supports Azerbaijan’s intervention.
– The region is Azerbaijani territory, and any other status will never be accepted, Erdogan said during the speech in New York and called for a quick end to the fighting.
He says Turkey supports that Azerbaijan has taken steps to “preserve its territorial integrity”. Erdogan believes Armenia must fulfill allegedly broken obligations in the ceasefire agreement.
France requests a meeting
Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called a crisis meeting of the country’s National Security Council after France asked on Tuesday night for the UN Security Council to meet on the matter on Thursday.
– Clear steps are needed to put an end to Azerbaijani aggression, says a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Yerevan.
The enclave is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but the majority of residents are ethnic Armenians, and Armenian separatists have controlled parts of the area since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Azerbaijan calls the offensive an “anti-terrorist operation” and accuses Armenia of provocations and violations of the ceasefire that has been imposed. This is rejected by Armenia, which calls it a fabricated Azerbaijani pretext to conquer territories.
In recent months, Azerbaijan has blocked the so-called Lacin Corridor, which is Armenia’s only access to Nagorno-Karabakh. The humanitarian situation there is therefore very critical.
The UN’s highest court has ordered Azerbaijan to reopen the corridor.
Few minutes notice
According to Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense, the leadership of Russia’s peacekeeping force and the Turkish-Russian Monitoring Center were informed in advance of the military offensive. This is rejected in Moscow.
– The information was communicated a few minutes before the outbreak of hostilities, says Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Azerbaijan also claims that only legitimate military targets are being attacked, and that the aim is to “disarm units of the Armed Forces of Armenia and ensure their withdrawal from our territories”.
Azerbaijan’s government also demands that the Armenian separatist authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh be dissolved. They claim they are committed to safeguarding the safety of Armenian civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh.
– Exploiting Russian weakness
Azerbaijan has seen the opportunity to enter Nagorno-Karabakh while the Russian peacekeeping force in the area is on the retreating front, says analyst Jakob Hedenskog to Swedish TT.
– Russia finds it difficult to deal with other conflicts at the same time and has to some extent lost its military impact in Ukraine, he says.
Hedenskog is an analyst at the Center for East European Studies at the Institute of Foreign Policy in Stockholm. He also points out that there is disappointment from the Armenian side with Russia, which they believe has failed and instead supported the other party.