Two years later, tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan are still high. Just a week ago, Yerevan announced the death of one of its soldiers in a shootout with soldiers from Azerbaijan. This time, the facts criticized by the two camps seem to be of a completely different magnitude. Clashes broke out last night on the border between the two countries, accusing each other of aggression. If the situation remains unclear at this stage, Moscow, which is still involved in this file, claims to have negotiated a ceasefire between the two countries and called on them to de-escalate. Update on available information.
What happened last night?
It is difficult at this stage to know what exactly caused the clashes. The two versions are largely opposed. “On Tuesday at 00:05 (22:05 French time), Azerbaijan launched a heavy bombardment, with artillery and large-caliber weapons, against Armenian military positions in the direction of the cities of Goris, Sotk and Jermuk”, the Defense of Armenia. The ministry first said overnight. According to its press release, Azerbaijan also uses drones.
On Azerbaijan’s side, Yerevan has been accused of committing “massive subversive acts” near three border districts. The Ministry of Defense also assured that its soldiers were the target of trench mortar fire.
In the social networks, the first images really illustrate the power of these bombings, for what will be the strongest clash between the two countries in almost 48 months.
What is a balance sheet?
This is not the end. During this period, the Armenian authorities reported about fifty soldiers who died in its ranks. This is the number that was announced at least this Tuesday by the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinian during a speech in front of the Parliament in Yerevan, cautioning that this number may “unfortunately” grow. For its part, Baku has not yet given an official report but mentioned losses.
Why this tension between the two countries?
This is historic. This is a story that started more than 30 years ago, since the end of the 1980s, the population located in Nagorno-Karabakh, mainly Armenian, decided to declare its independence from Azerbaijan. . This decision was the beginning of a violent war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which supported the secessionist population. The result was terrible: six years of war and 30,000 dead.
A cease-fire was finally signed in 1994. The agreement allowed Armenia to occupy a large part of Nagorno-Karabakh and the land border controlled by the Azerbaijani army became an area of extremely high tension between in both camps.
This tension resulted in a new war just two years ago, when the Azeri army decided to continue the offensive to enter the areas of Nagorno-Karabakh that until now were held by Armenian forces. Again, the toll is heavy with over 6,500 deaths recorded. A ceasefire was eventually reached, allowing Azerbaijan to regain control of the reinvested territories. A situation experienced as abandonment by many Armenians.
How did Russia intervene in this case?
As it happened two years ago, Moscow intends to use all its influence to influence the resolution of this conflict. This Tuesday morning, Russia announced the signing of a ceasefire between the two parties, calling on them to slow down and exercise restraint.
Two years ago, Moscow was indisputably one of the major winners of the ceasefire that was signed after three attempts, by involving itself, like Turkey, directly in the negotiations. Russian forces are mainly deployed in the “Lachin corridor”, which has become Karabakh’s only supply route from Armenia. A presence that could not be more strategic.
What does the international community say?
The reactions did not take long to come. Fears of new overflows are real. Following Moscow’s announcement of the signing of a ceasefire, France announced its intention to usurp the UN Security Council following a telephone conversation between Emmanuel Macron and the Prime Minister of Armenia overnight. The Head of State thus called for “strict respect for the ceasefire and respect for the territorial integrity of Armenia”, specified the Elysée, adding that the President of the Republic “stands available” to talk with the President of Azerbaijani Ilham Aliyev and “at the disposal of the parties so that all issues related to and resulting from this conflict are resolved through negotiations”.
The United States was one of the first to react when the clashes were announced last night, expressing deep concern. This Tuesday morning, Tehran called on the two neighboring parties for “restraint and a peaceful resolution of the disputes between the two countries”, also expressing “concern over the escalation of tensions and conflicts on the border”.
The European Union, finally, called this afternoon “for the cessation of hostilities” between the two countries.