Nagorno-Karabakh region update - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Mobilisation and Martial Law Declared as Clashes Increase Tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh

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Early on Sunday, an escalation unfolded along the contact line of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-majority autonomy that proclaimed independence from the Azerbaijan Republic in 1991.

Azerbaijan launched what it described as a "counteroffensive," while the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh accused Azerbaijani forces of opening fire against civilians and civilian infrastructure in its capital of Stepanakert.

Multiple casualties are being continuously reported by both sides as the armed action continues.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have clashed over control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region since the early 1990s. Since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994, representatives of the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group on the region's disputed status.

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02:47 GMT 28.09.2020

YEREVAN (Sputnik) - Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan has held phone talks with US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, discussing the flare-up of military hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, spokesperson of the Armenian Foreign Ministry Anna Naghdalyan said on Facebook.

Naghdalyan did not give any details of the telephone conversation.

According to the spokesperson, Mnatsakanyan has also held talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

02:26 GMT 28.09.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has held telephone talks with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov discussing the recent escalation of tensions in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Iranian state news agency IRNA reports.

During the phone talks, Zarif expressed concern over the flare-up of military hostilities and called on both sides to exercise restraint, declare a ceasefire and start negotiations, IRNA said on Sunday.

Zarif said that Iran was ready to be a mediator for talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

02:25 GMT 28.09.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has expressed concern over the flare-up of tensions in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

"I am deeply concerned by the outbreak of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh and call for urgent de-escalation, restoring the ceasefire, and a resumption of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan," Biden said in a Sunday statement.

He warned that the escalation of hostilities could lead to a larger regional conflict and called for third parties not to get involved while the Minsk Group tries to get the conflicting sides to the negotiating table.

"The Trump administration also needs to step up its diplomatic efforts, together with fellow OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] Minsk Group co-chairs France and Russia, to seek a peaceful resolution and to support confidence-building measures, Biden said.

22:56 GMT 27.09.2020
21:12 GMT 27.09.2020

YEREVAN (Sputnik) - President Arayik Harutyunyan of the de facto Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) said on Sunday 'dozens' of soldiers had been killed and wounded, in addition to casualties among the civilian population, as a result of the armed hostilities on the contact line with Azerbaijan.

"Dozens [of servicemen] died, dozens more were wounded. Dozens of civilians were injured and there are fatalities among the civilian population," Harutyunyan told an online briefing, broadcast on Facebook.

The official claimed that Azerbaijani armed forces used Turkey's F-16 jets, which were stationed in Azerbaijan for about a month now "under the pretext of military drills." He said the Azerbaijani armed forces are equipped with the "most advanced weaponry belonging to the Turkish army."

20:15 GMT 27.09.2020

YEREVAN (Sputnik) - The armed forces of the de facto Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh otherwise) have seized an Azerbaijani BMP-3 tank and 10 other armored vehicles with military hardware, Armenian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan said on Sunday.

"In the result of the counterattack of the [Nagorno-Karabakh] Defense Army units, 11 pieces of the enemy armored vehicles with their combat equipment were seized, including an BMP-3," Stepanyan said on Facebook.

19:05 GMT 27.09.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on Sunday for an immediate cessation of armed hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, saying he would be soon in touch with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan on the matter.

"The Secretary-General strongly calls on the sides to immediately stop fighting, de-escalate tensions and return to meaningful negotiations without delay. He will be speaking to both the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia," Guterres said in a statement.

The UN chief said he was "extremely concerned" about the resumption of armed hostilities, condemning the use of force and regretting casualties, including among the civilian population.

Guterres further acknowledged the "important role" of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs — France, Russia and the United States — and called on the conflict parties to cooperate with them toward "an urgent resumption of dialogue without preconditions."

17:26 GMT 27.09.2020
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16:31 GMT 27.09.2020
15:42 GMT 27.09.2020
15:28 GMT 27.09.2020

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the ongoing military hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Kremlin said on Sunday.

"At the initiative of the Armenian side, a telephone conversation took place between Russian President Vladimir Putin with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The leaders discussed the acute escalation of the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone," the press release read.

Putin was quoted as expressing "serious concerns" over the renewed large-scale military hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh.

"It was noted that it is important now to make every necessary effort to prevent further escalation of the confrontation, and most importantly, it is necessary to stop the armed hostilities," the press release read.

14:30 GMT 27.09.2020

The toll of casualties among Armenian servicemen from the military escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh currently stands at 16 people killed and more than 100 others injured, the Armenian Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

"The preliminary data is 16 people killed and more than 100 others injured on the Armenian side," Armenian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan said on Facebook, quoting Deputy Defense Minister Artur Sarkisyan of the de facto Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh otherwise).

14:28 GMT 27.09.2020
14:02 GMT 27.09.2020

The Azerbaijani parliament has approved declaring martial law in several regions and cities amid an escalation of armed hostilities on the contact line in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh, a Sputnik correspondent reported on Sunday.

Sputnik has learned earlier in the day that the Azerbaijani parliament convened for an emergency session following the escalation.

The plan is to declare martial law in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku as well as the cities of Ganja, Yevlakh, Goygol and several others.

The parliament's decision to declare partial martial law will now have to be confirmed by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

13:43 GMT 27.09.2020
13:42 GMT 27.09.2020
13:30 GMT 27.09.2020

The Armenian government declared on Sunday a mobilization of reserve servicemen aged under 55 following an escalation of tensions with Azerbaijan in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

"The Republic of Armenia declares general mobilization. The plan of use of armed forces will be applied," the government said on its website. "A mobilization call is announced for officers, warrant officers and ordinary personnel of the reserve under the age of 55."

13:26 GMT 27.09.2020

NATO is deeply concerned by the escalation of Armenian-Azerbaijani hostilities in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region and calls for an immediate ceasefire, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia James Appathurai said in a statement on Sunday.

"NATO is deeply concerned by reports of large scale military hostilities along the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabach conflict zone," the statement read.

The alliance called on the conflict parties to "immediately cease hostilities, which have already caused civilian casualties."

"There is no military solution to this conflict. The parties should resume negotiations towards a peaceful resolution. NATO supports the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group," Appathurai said.

12:33 GMT 27.09.2020
12:31 GMT 27.09.2020
12:21 GMT 27.09.2020

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called on the international community on Sunday to ensure that Turkey remains out of the ongoing escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh.

"A full-scale military confrontation in South Caucasus, which we stand on the brink of now, can have the most unpredictable consequences. It can spill outside the region and acquire a much larger scale, threatening the international security and stability. I call on the international community to pull every available lever to deter Turkey from any possible involvement," Pashinyan said in an address broadcast on Facebook.

12:13 GMT 27.09.2020
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11:33 GMT 27.09.2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday held a telephone conversation with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, in which he reiterated Ankara’s full support amid an escalation along the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Aliyev’s press office told Sputnik on Sunday.

"On September 27, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan called President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. The Turkish president expressed his condolences to the head of state and the people of Azerbaijan in connection with the death of civilians and servicemen of Azerbaijan as a result of the military provocation of Armenia. Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that Turkey, as always, supports Azerbaijan," Aliyev’s press office said.

According to the press service, Aliyev responded with gratitude to Erdogan for the latter’s continued support of Baku in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

11:31 GMT 27.09.2020
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Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday the country’s forces had gained control over several strategic heights and six villages in the Nagorno-Karabakh region which had previously been under Armenian control.

"A number of strategic heights are already under the control of our army. In particular, the villages of Karakhanbeyli, Gervend, Horadiz, Yuxari Ebdulrahmanli of the Fizuli region, Boyuk Merjanli and Nyuzgar of the Jabrayil region have been liberated," Azerbaijani Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Anar Eyvazov said.

11:04 GMT 27.09.2020
10:33 GMT 27.09.2020

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, during telephone talks on Sunday, have emphasized the need to defuse the ongoing tensions in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

During their conversation, which took place on Sunday, both foreign ministers exchanged views on the escalation of tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh after clashes broke out between the armed forces of Armenia and Azerbaijan overnight.

"The need for an early ceasefire and a stabilization of the situation on the line of contact was emphasized. Condolences were expressed to the relatives and friends of victims," the Russian Foreign Ministry's statement read. 

10:27 GMT 27.09.2020

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in a telephone conversation with his Armenian counterpart, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan on Sunday, emphasized the need for an immediate ceasefire in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"On September 27, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held a telephone conversation with Armenian Foreign Minister Mnatsakanyan. The situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone was discussed. Lavrov expressed serious concern about the ongoing large-scale hostilities on the line of contact, information about the killed and injured. The need for an early ceasefire was emphasized,” a Foreign Ministry statement read.

Lavrov went on to say that Russia would continue mediation efforts to stabilize the situation in its capacity as a member of the Minsk Group on Nagorno-Karabakh settlement.

“It was noted that Russia, together with other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, will continue to undertake mediation efforts aimed at stabilizing the situation," the ministry added.

The Foreign Ministry added that Lavrov was set to speak with his Azerbaijani counterpart shortly.

10:26 GMT 27.09.2020

The general secretary of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejcinovic-Buric, has called for all parties in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to bring the renewed hostilities to an immediate end, according to a statement published on Sunday.

"I am gravely concerned about reports of military escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I call on our Member States Armenia and Azerbaijan to show responsibility and restraint by immediately stopping hostilities," Pejcinovic-Buric said.

The Council of Europe is urging Azerbaijan and Armenia to protect human lives and work to defuse the ongoing tensions, the general secretary said, adding that the council will also continue to support the efforts of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group.

"In this respect, we reiterate our support for the OSCE Minsk group Co-chairs in their work to help our Member States find a peaceful solution to this conflict." Pejcinovic-Buric added.

The OSCE Minsk Group, led by Russia, the United States, and France, has spearheaded efforts to bring peace to the disputed region since 1992.

10:05 GMT 27.09.2020

Azerbaijan sees no reason to call for a full-scale mobilization as the country's army is adequately staffed, the State Service for Mobilization and Conscription said on Sunday amid rising tensions in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Earlier in the day, the Armenian cabinet and the unrecognized breakaway Republic of Artsakh, also known as the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, took the decision to declare martial law and a full-scale mobilization as a result of the latest clashes in the disputed region.

"If necessary, reservists can be called to the local branches of the service, in accordance with current legislation and measures adopted to ensure the country's defense and national security. However, at the present time, there is no need for this," the service said in a statement, adding that the armed forces are currently adequately staffed.

Large numbers of Azerbaijani citizens have come forward to volunteer their services following the outbreak of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, the State Service for Mobilization and Conscription added.

"In connection with the provocations of the Armenian armed forces, the civil service, and its local branches and sub-divisions, continue to receive numerous appeals from our citizens who wish to volunteer to fight on the frontline and provide all possible assistance," the service said.

09:53 GMT 27.09.2020

The Turkish and Russian foreign ministers, Mevlut Cavusoglu and Sergey Lavrov, respectively, have discussed by phone the unfolding situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, a source in the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

"Our minister spoke on the phone with his Russian colleague, Sergey Lavrov, about Armenian aggression," the diplomatic source said.

09:45 GMT 27.09.2020

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is working intensively to encourage all parties to Nagorno-Karabakh to cease firing immediately after violent clashes broke out overnight, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Sunday.

"After the escalation of the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, [Sergey] Lavrov is working intensively to encourage all parties to cease firing and begin negotiations to stabilize the situation," Zakharova remarked.

09:38 GMT 27.09.2020

The Armenian embassy in Moscow denied reports that the country’s defense minister is set to visit Russia amid a return to hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, an adviser to the diplomatic mission, Edvard Djambazian said.

"We do not confirm this information, the embassy has denied it," Djambazian said.

Earlier in the day, several Telegram channels circulated reports that Armenia’s Defence Minister David Tonoyan may visit Moscow later on Sunday amid a military escalation in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

 

09:31 GMT 27.09.2020

"France is extremely concerned by the confrontation," foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes bon der Muhll said in a statement.

08:29 GMT 27.09.2020

The ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh should be resolved through peaceful negotiations, the spokesman of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Vladimir Zainetdinov told Sputnik on Sunday.

"We believe that this conflict should only be resolved peacefully. For this, there is an existing internationally-recognized mechanism – the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's [OSCE] Minsk Group – which is already engaged in finding a settlement to the conflict," Zainetdinov remarked.

The CSTO spokesman also stated that all parties involved in the conflict should cease firing immediately in order to allow for peaceful negotiations to take place.

Armenia is a member state of the CSTO, although Zainetdinov said that Yerevan has yet to contact the organization for assistance.

"At the moment, there is no information that Armenia has appealed to the [CSTO] Secretariat for assistance," he commented.

At this stage, the CSTO stands ready to support all efforts to find a peaceful solution to the hostilities, Zainetdinov stated, although the spokesman underlined that the Minsk Group has the primary role in bringing the conflicting parties together.

The OSCE Minsk Group, led by Russia, the United States, and France, has spearheaded efforts to find a peaceful effort to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh since 1992.

07:57 GMT 27.09.2020

"On Sunday morning, the Armenian armed forces began shelling Azerbaijani military positions and settlements along the line of contact. Moreover, the shelling was carried out using various weapons, including large-caliber ones. This is another military provocation by Armenia. As a result of the Armenian military shelling, there are losses among Azerbaijan's military and civilian population," Aliyev said during an address that was televised by the state-run AzTV broadcaster.

07:29 GMT 27.09.2020

The leader of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Arayik Harutyunyan introduced martial law and announced a general mobilisation, his press secretary said.

He posted on his Facebook page Harutyunyan's statement, which says: "Based on the current situation, an extraordinary meeting of the National Assembly has been convened. Speaking to the deputies, I announced that I have declared martial law and general mobilization of persons over 18 years old."

 

07:09 GMT 27.09.2020

The armed forces of Armenia and Azerbaijan should hold their fire and come to the negotiating table amid the latest flare-up in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Vladimir Dzhabarov, the first deputy head of the Russian upper house's international affairs committee, said on Sunday.

"It is necessary to move everything to the negotiating table. All firing must be stopped," Dzhabarov stated.

"No conflict should be resolved on the battlefield," Dzhabarov remarked.

06:34 GMT 27.09.2020

The prime minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, has said on Sunday that the Azerbaijani armed forces have launched an offensive in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Azerbaijan has launched a missile & aerial attack against #Artsakh [also known as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic]. Peaceful settlements including #Stepanakert have been attacked. Armenian side has shot down 2 helicopters & 3 UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], destroyed 3 tanks. We stay strong next to our army to protect our motherland from Azeri invasion," Pashinyan wrote on Twitter.

The country's Foreign Ministry issued a similar statement, condemning what it called Baku's aggression in the region.

"We strongly condemn the aggression of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan against the Republic of Artsakh. The Armenian sides will act confidently with all their capacities to ensure the security of the people of Artsakh and to deliver appropriate military and political response. The military political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the consequences of their aggression," the Foreign Ministry said.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have clashed over control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region for decades. On Monday, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that one member of the armed forces was killed as a result of a shelling incident along the border with Armenia.

Both sides also suffered casualties this past July when their armed forces clashed along the contact line between Armenia's Tavush province and the Azerbaijani region of Tovuz.

06:15 GMT 27.09.2020

Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan remains in constant contact with representatives from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group amid the latest flare-up in tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Sunday.

"Armenian Foreign Minister is in constant touch with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship," Anna Naghdalyan wrote on Facebook.

06:02 GMT 27.09.2020

A helicopter of the Azerbaijani Air Forces has crashed in the disputed area of Nagorno-Karabakh amid the latest flare-up in tensions in the region, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defenсe said on Sunday, adding that the crew members survived the crash.

"A combat helicopter of the Azerbaijani Air Forces was shot down in the region of Terter. The crew members are alive," the Ministry of Defenсe said.

The Azerbaijani military is currently launching a counter-offensive in the region, after clashes broke out in the early hours of the morning, the ministry stated.

"In order to suppress the military activity of the Armenian armed forces and to ensure the safety of the civilian population, Azerbaijani Army commanders have decided to launch a counter-offensive along the entire front," the ministry added.

As many as twelve Armenian Osa air-defenсe units have been destroyed during the latest clashes, Baku stated. 

During a period of intense fighting between 1992 and 1994, Azerbaijan lost control of the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which had first announced its secession from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic in 1988.

The OSCE Minsk Group, led by Russia, the United States, and France, has spearheaded efforts to find a peaceful effort to the conflict since 1992.

05:37 GMT 27.09.2020

The authorities in the unrecognized breakaway Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) on Sunday have asked civilians to take shelter amid the latest flare-up in tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the disputed area.

"We call on the civilian population to take refuge in shelters, not to go out into the streets while the enemy continues to shell peaceful settlements," the Republic of Artsakh's presidential spokesman Vahram Poghosyan wrote on Facebook.

 

05:37 GMT 27.09.2020

The Armenian military has downed two Azerbaijani helicopters and three drones in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, spokeswoman of the Armenian Defence Ministry Shushan Stepanyan said.

"[The unrecognized breakaway republic of] Artsakh [also known as Nagorno-Karabakh Republic] has come under air and rocket attacks … the Armenian side downed two helicopters and three unmanned aerial vehicles of the enemy. The confrontation continues," Stepanyan wrote on Facebook on Sunday.

05:35 GMT 27.09.2020

Azerbaijan’s Defenсe Ministry says "retaliatory measures" are being taken in response to the military activity of Armenian armed forces along the line of confrontation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Spokeswoman of the Armenian Defenсe Ministry Shushan Stepanyan said on Facebook on Sunday that the Armenian military had downed two Azerbaijani helicopters and three drones in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

"The Azerbaijani Army is currently taking retaliatory measures and our troops are in full control of the operational situation. The media and the public will be additionally informed about the events taking place in the front-line zone. We urge users of social networks, electronic media and other media representatives not to use unofficial, unverified and biased information in order to prevent panic among the population and ensure the safety of our military personnel," a spokesperson of Azerbaijan’s Defenсe Ministry said.

Earlier on Sunday, spokesperson of the president of the unrecognized breakaway Republic of Artsakh, Vahram Poghosyan, said on Facebook that the city of Stepanakert had been shelled, adding that the response would be "proportionate."

A spokesperson of Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry said on Sunday that Armenia’s armed forces opened fire at settlements along the line of military confrontation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region at around 06:00 [02:00 GMT] on Sunday. According to the spokesperson, at least six settlements came under attack and there are dead and wounded among the local population.

The defence ministry’s spokesperson said that civilian infrastructure was seriously damaged and that information on casualties and wounded among the civilian population and the military was being verified.

 

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