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As tensions with Yerevan escalate, defence ministry says Armenian firing factors, fight belongings and army amenities are the targets.
Azerbaijan has launched what it referred to as “anti-terrorist actions” within the breakaway area of Nagorno-Karabakh, its defence ministry mentioned, stressing that the offensive would solely goal army buildings.
“Native anti-terrorist actions carried out by the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan within the Karabakh area of Azerbaijan are ongoing,” learn a Ministry of Protection assertion revealed on Tuesday.
“As a part of the actions, solely reputable army installations and infrastructure are focused and incapacitated utilizing high-precision weapons,” it mentioned, including that it has created humanitarian corridors to permit the evacuation of civilians.
Armenia’s overseas ministry referred to as on Russian peacekeeping troops within the area to intervene and cease what is alleged was Azerbaijan’s “full-scale aggression” towards the native inhabitants.
A reporter of the AFP information company mentioned explosions have been heard within the area’s de facto capital, often known as Stepanakert to Armenians and Khankendi in Azerbaijani.
Armenia mentioned it had no army personnel or gear in Karabakh, in response to its defence ministry.
The area has lengthy been on the centre of tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia, main to 2 wars for its management. As of right now, the area is internationally recognised as a part of Azerbaijan however it’s largely populated by ethnic Armenians.
The assertion asserting the offensive got here just a few hours after Azerbaijan’s Ministry of International Affairs mentioned not less than six folks died in two totally different accidents within the Azeri Khojavend district allegedly resulting from landmines put in by Armenia’s safety forces.
In the meantime, Russia expressed deeply alarm “by the sharp escalation” within the contested area, TASS media reported, citing overseas ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova. She mentioned Azerbaijan had warned Russian peacekeepers within the area about army motion simply minutes earlier than launching it.
United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric additionally expressed concern over the continuing state of affairs in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“It’s essential that each one the actions stop and each events return to a sustained dialogue to keep away from any additional clashes,” he informed Al Jazeera.
A long time of pressure
The final large-scale battle in Nagorno-Karabakh broke out in 2020 and lasted for six weeks earlier than a Russian-brokered truce. The ceasefire noticed Armenia cede swaths of territory it had managed for the reason that Nineteen Nineties.
The 2 sides have since been unable to achieve an enduring peace settlement regardless of mediation efforts by the European Union, Russia and the USA.
Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of inflicting a months-long humanitarian disaster in Nagorno-Karabakh after Baku final 12 months blocked the only real street linking the mountainous area with Armenia. It’s referred to as the Lachin hall, and Russian peacekeepers police it.
On Monday, vehicles loaded with humanitarian support entered Nagorno-Karabakh after Armenian separatists and the central authorities agreed to make use of roads linking it to Armenia and Azerbaijan, in response to Baku.
Al Jazeera’s Robin Forestier-Walker, who has extensively coated occasions at Nagorno-Karabakh, mentioned there was a “nice worry” that this could possibly be one other large-scale warfare between the 2 international locations.
Forestier-Walker mentioned stories from contained in the area spoke of “large-scale assaults within the type of probably rocket assaults and shelling”, whereas the sound of small-arms fireplace could possibly be heard in movies posted on social media.
Forestier-Walker mentioned the state of affairs has for months been “dire” for the inhabitants of Nagorno-Kabarakh.
“They’ve been minimize off from the primary roads supplying Karabakh from Armenia,” he added.
“Issues have been shifting not too long ago. The authorities in Azerbaijan have been capable of get some support into Karabakh from the Azeri aspect of management however they have been nonetheless placing strain on the entry of Karabakh from Armenia as a result of the Azeri authorities have claimed for a very long time that this route is getting used to smuggle in weapons and mines into the territory that’s nonetheless below ethnic Armenian management.”