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Rocket fight between Azerbaijan and Armenia

MOSCOW – The fighting that would have been fierce broke out Sunday between Azerbaijan and Armenia and quickly escalated with the two sides claiming action with artillery, helicopter and tanks along a disputed border.

Military action has focused on the breakaway province of Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous area north of Turkey and Iran where ethnic tensions and historic claims have ignited conflict for decades.

Sunday’s fighting, however, would have been tougher than typical periodic border skirmishes, and both governments used military language describing the events as war. Before Sunday, the last major escalation was in 201

6. Each side accused the other of using artillery against civilians.

“The enemy has launched an attack” on the Karabakh region, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in a Facebook post.

The fighting in and around the Karabakh region, which Armenia calls Artsakh, was among the fiercest of the early post-Soviet conflicts. A ceasefire was declared in 1994, but violence has often erupted since then.

Moscow sells arms to both sides and has also brokered ceasefire agreements. Russia has a military base in Armenia. The Armenian diaspora in France and the United States has helped the Karabakh region, also financing the construction of a strategic access road to the mountains.

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