(Reuters) – Clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops have flared up, Russian news agencies reported on Tuesday, a renewed escalation in the decades-long war over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
In the year Azerbaijan, which took full control of the territory in 2020 during the six-week conflict, has admitted that its forces have suffered casualties. Armenia has not commented on casualties, but said fighting continued overnight.
The government of Yerevan will request a cooperation agreement with Russia and will appeal to the Russian-led security group, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the United Nations Security Council, Interfax reported.
Each side blamed the other for the war.
“Several positions, shelters and fortified positions of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan… were heavily hit by various weapons, including mortars, by Armenian army units,” the agency quoted the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry as saying.
This resulted in loss of personnel and damage to military infrastructure.
Azerbaijan’s statement said the Armenian army had been carrying out reconnaissance operations along the border, had smuggled weapons into the area and carried out mining operations on Monday evening.
It said the operation was “of an environmental nature targeting military targets”.
“Heavy firing continues – it started as a result of a large-scale provocation on the part of Azerbaijan,” the Armenian Defense Ministry said. Armenian armed forces responded accordingly.
The conflict first erupted in 2011. In the late 1980s, when both sides were under Soviet rule and Armenian forces controlled territories near Nagorno-Karabakh – long recognized internationally as Azerbaijani territory, but it had a large Armenian population.
Azerbaijan regained those territories in a 2020 war that ended with Russian mediation and thousands of residents who fled their homes.
Leaders of both countries have met several times to try to break the agreement that was meant to bring lasting peace.