Home / World / Azerbaijan, Armenia Reject Talks As Karabakh Conflict Widens | Asia

Azerbaijan, Armenia Reject Talks As Karabakh Conflict Widens | Asia

The United Nations Security Council expressed concern over the clashes after Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an end to the fighting.

Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of firing directly into each other’s territory and refused pressure to hold peace talks as their conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave threatened to escalate into all-out war.

Both countries reported Tuesday that they fired from the other side across the shared border, well west of the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region, over which fierce fighting broke out between Azerbaijani and ethnic Armenian forces on Sunday.

The incidents marked a further escalation of the conflict despite urgent calls from Russia, the United States and others to stop the fighting.

The conflict has rekindled concerns for stability in the South Caucasus region and threatens to drag on to Turkey and Russia.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, speaking on Russian state television, has categorically ruled out any possibility of talks. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told the same channel that there could be no negotiations while the fighting continued.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a separatist region within Azerbaijan controlled by ethnic Armenians and backed by Armenia. It broke away from Azerbaijan in a war in the 1

990s but is not recognized by any country as an independent republic.

Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds injured since clashes broke out between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian Armenian forces.

United Nations concern

After a closed-door discussion Tuesday, the 15-member UN Security Council “expressed concern” at the clashes, condemned the use of force and backed an appeal by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. for the immediate cessation of fighting.

Further fueling tensions between the two former Soviet republics, Armenia claimed that a Turkish F-16 fighter shot down one of its warplanes in Armenian airspace, killing the pilot.

He provided no evidence of the incident. Turkey denied the request.

“Armenia should withdraw from the territories under its occupation instead of resorting to cheap propaganda tricks,” said Fahrettin Altun, a leading contributor to the press of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Earlier this week, Armenia accused Turkey of sending mercenaries to support Azerbaijani forces in the ethnically Armenian region.

Putin appeal

Any descent into all-out war could threaten to drag not only Turkey, but Russia as well. Moscow has a defensive alliance with Armenia, but it also has close relations with Azerbaijan.

The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone with Pashinyan for the second time since the crisis began and said all sides should take steps to reduce tension. He did not disclose any contact between Putin and Aliyev.

Moscow was in constant contact with Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and any talk of providing military support to opposing sides would only add fuel to the fire, he said.

Increased casualties

Pashinyan told the BBC in an interview that Azerbaijani forces bombed villages and towns in Nagorno-Karabakh and within Armenia itself on Tuesday.

“There are casualties among both the military and civilians. Dozens of dead and hundreds of injured, ”he said.

The Azerbaijani prosecutor’s office said 12 Azerbaijani civilians have been killed and 35 injured by Armenian fire so far. The Azerbaijani side revealed no military casualties.

Nagorno-Karabakh reported the loss of at least 84 soldiers.

“What can I say? It’s a war. We hear air strikes several times a day and hide in air raid shelters,” Albert Voskanyan, a resident of the enclave capital Stepanakert, told Reuters.

Armenian officials previously said a civilian was killed in an Azerbaijani attack on the Armenian city of Vardenis, more than 20km (12 miles) from Nagorno-Karabakh. They said a bus caught fire in the city after being hit by an Azerbaijani drone.

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense said the Armenian army had bombed the Dashkesan region within Azerbaijan from Vardenis. Armenia has denied those reports.

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