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An ethnic Armenian soldier fires an artillery piece during fighting with Azerbaijan's forces in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in this handout picture released September 29, 2020 - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Azerbaijani Defence Ministry Says Seized More Positions in Nagorno-Karabakh

On Thursday, Russia, France, and the United States issued a joint statement condemning the ongoing hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region and urged the parties to resume negotiations immediately.

The decades-old tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated on Sunday when the two sides accused each other of carrying out provocations along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh, a self-proclaimed republic that declared its independence from what was then Soviet Azerbaijan in 1991.

The two sides have since reported multiple casualties, both civilian and military, with Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh declaring martial law and general mobilisation, while Azerbaijan announced partial martial law and partial mobilisation.

The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, which has been working on finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict since the early 1990s, have called on the parties to cease fire and return to the negotiating table.

Meanwhile, Turkey has supported Baku, promising aid "in talks and in combat", and warning that any aggression against Azerbaijani territory is an attack against Ankara.

Russia and France have also raised concerns amid reports that illegal armed militants were being transferred to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone from Libya and Syria to participate in the local hostilities. French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday announced that a group of Syrian militants from jihadist groups had been deployed in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, as they were flown out of Turkey to Baku. He promised to discuss the issue with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the coming days.

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03:26 GMT 03.10.2020

The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry said on Saturday that the country’s forces had established control over more positions in conflict-torn Nagorno-Karabakh.

“During the present day, the troops of the Azerbaijan Army, successfully advancing in the intended directions, took possession of new strongholds and carried out a cleanup of the territory from the enemy. During the combat operations, a significant amount of manpower, combat, and other equipment, as well as weapons of the enemy were destroyed,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry claims that Armenia and the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh had lost up to 230 tanks and other armored vehicles; 250 artillery systems, multiple launch rocket systems and mortars; 38 air defence systems; 10 command control centers and observation posts; seven ammunition depots; over 130 vehicles and an S-300 air defence system.

01:40 GMT 03.10.2020

The Azerbaijani army has lost more than 3,000 servicemen since the eruption of hostilities in conflict-torn Nagorno-Karabakh, the press secretary of the president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh said on Saturday.

“The intelligence data show that the Azerbaijani losses had already exceeded 3,000 servicemen. Most bodies remain in the neutral zone, and nothing is being done for their transportation,” Vagram Pogosyan wrote on his Facebook page.

23:45 GMT 02.10.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The French Foreign Ministry has recommended its citizens to limit trips to Armenia over the escalation of tensions in conflict-torn Nagorno-Karabakh.

“The clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh are underway. The Armenian territory adjacent to the Azerbaijani border is shelled with artillery and unmanned aerial vehicles from time to time. Because of that, it is necessary to limit the trips to Armenia to those made due to urgent needs, as well as highly minimize the movement within Armenia,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on late Friday.

Representatives of the French community in Armenia are recommended to follow the instructions of the country’s authorities, as well as the French Embassy.

21:01 GMT 02.10.2020

YEREVAN (Sputnik) - Armenian Defence Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan said on Friday that 540 Azeri soldiers had been killed and more than 700 injured in the last 24 hours of the ongoing conflict in the breakaway republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Azerbaijan has 540 people killed, over 700 wounded, 45 armored vehicles, six planes, most of which have not been destroyed in the air, three helicopters and six drones," Hovhannisyan said.

18:57 GMT 02.10.2020

Several villages close to the contact line in Karabakh have been evacuated due to shelling, but there is no evacuation in Stepanakert, the head of government of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Grigory Martirosyan, said on Friday.

"I officially declare that Stepanakert will not be evacuated. Yes, several villages have been evacuated, which are several kilometers from the contact line, but there is no evacuation in Stepanakert," Martirosyan said at a briefing broadcast on Facebook.

18:45 GMT 02.10.2020

YEREVAN (Sputnik) - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and French President Emmanuel Macron had a phone conversation on Friday, during which they stated that it was unacceptable to involve foreign militants in hostilities in Karabakh, the Armenian government said.

"Pashinyan thanked Macron for his principled and constructive position ... The parties considered it unacceptable to involve foreign terrorists in hostilities", the government said.

The French President stated the importance of early cessation of hostilities and the resumption of the negotiation process in accordance with the statement of the presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries, it said.

"Pashinyan called the penetration of Turkey and terrorists sponsored by it into the region intolerable, stressing that it is impossible to restore regional security without the expulsion of these destabilizing forces. In the context of peace, he noted the importance of close cooperation between the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and its member countries", the statement says.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Moscow was concerned about reports on deployment of militants of illegal armed groups to the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It was noted that, according to received information, militants of illegal armed groups, in particular, from Syria and Libya, are being transferred to the conflict zone in Nagorno-Karabakh in order to directly participate in hostilities. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow had information on Syrian mercenaries in Nagorno-Karabakh, and this is not only media reports.

18:39 GMT 02.10.2020

YEREVAN (Sputnik) - Armenian President Armen Sarkissian met with the Russian ambassador in Yerevan, Sergey Kopyrkin on Friday to discuss the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the president's press service said.

"The interlocutors expressed concern over the escalation on the Armenian border and in the conflict zone in Karabakh, stressing the importance of rapidly finding a solution. They stressed the importance of the statement made by the president of Russia, the US and France", the press service said in a published statement.

17:23 GMT 02.10.2020

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres deeply regrets the ongoing violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region and calls for an immediate end to hostilities, United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement on Friday.

"The Secretary-General deeply regrets that parties continue military engagement, despite strong and repeated calls of the international community, including from himself and the OSCE Co-Chairs, to cease fire", Dujarric said. "He calls on the sides to immediately end all hostilities."

16:55 GMT 02.10.2020

"The repeated statements made by the OSCE Minsk Group emphasised the unacceptability of the status quo. But at the same time, Armenia pursues the goal of strengthening the status quo based on occupation. Obviously, Armenia is not interested in resolving the conflict through negotiations, trying to annex the occupied territories", the ministry said in a statement.

16:43 GMT 02.10.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan discussed the situation in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Kremlin said on Friday.

"Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan at the Armenian side’s initiative. The two leaders continued discussing the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone", the statement says.

In a conversation with Pashinyan, Putin stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire and renewed efforts to resolve Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Vladimir Putin again emphasised the need to immediately stop the hostilities and resume political and diplomatic efforts to settle the conflict in line with the Statement made by the presidents of the countries – co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France and the US) on 1 October 2020", the Kremlin said.

The leaders expressed serious concern over information about the involvement of militants of illegal armed groups from the Middle East in military operations.

"They expressed serious concern over the incoming information on the involvement in hostilities of militants of illegal armed units from the Middle East", the statement says.

Putin and Pashinyan agreed to continue contacts in various formats.

16:28 GMT 02.10.2020
15:41 GMT 02.10.2020

STEPANAKERT (Sputnik) - The sound of shelling can be heard again in the centre of the city of Stepanakert, the capital of the unrecognised Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, a Sputnik correspondent reported late on Friday.

Local residents are going down to cellars and shelters. The extent of the damage is unclear yet.

14:10 GMT 02.10.2020
14:01 GMT 02.10.2020

YEREVAN (Sputnik) - Turkey's NATO allies must explain why Ankara's F-16s are striking at Karabakh, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told Canadian outlet The Globe and Mail.

The Armenian prime minister stressed that Yerevan could not leave the civilian population of Nagorno-Karabakh alone in the face of aggression. Pashinyan stressed that a ceasefire could happen only if Turkey was no longer present in the area.

13:18 GMT 02.10.2020

STEPANAKERT (Sputnik) - A vehicle carrying Russian and Armenian journalists and a US volunteer came under fire in the town of Martakert, there are no injured, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

According to the correspondent, the reporters had visited Martakert, which has now been deserted by civilians as it is continuously shelled. The reporters were on their way back to Stepanakert, the capital of the unrecognised Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, when their vehicle got under fire.

"There was an explosion next to the bus, the blast wave threw out the side window. Reporters dropped to the floor of the bus. The bus went on a little more and then it was decided to stop and hide in a shelter", the correspondent said.

12:36 GMT 02.10.2020

YEREVAN (Sputnik) - Karabakh forces on Friday downed five more aircraft and three more helicopters of the Azerbaijani armed forces, the Armenian Defence Ministry's spokesman, Artsrun Hovhannisyan, said.

"Five enemy planes and three helicopters were downed by precise strikes of the Karabakh Defence Army's units at around 16:00 [12:00 GMT]", Hovhannisyan wrote on Facebook.

Earlier in the day, the Armenian Defence Ministry said two Azerbaijani aircraft had been downed.

12:11 GMT 02.10.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The civilian population of Nagorno-Karabakh is bearing the brunt of the conflict that has erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Friday.

In a press release, the ICRC said that civilian deaths and injuries, including children, have been reported on both sides of the contact line and on official Armenian territory.

The ICRC’s head of mission in Nagorno-Karabakh, Bertrand Lamon, said that the organisation had provided emergency medical supplies to hospitals and body bags to the forensic bureau in Nagorno-Karabakh.

“We are currently trying to assess health-related and other humanitarian needs, including the situation of those who have left their homes. Our ability to move in the field is limited because of the intensity of fighting and the volatility of the situation”, Lamon was quoted as saying.

In the communique, the ICRC said it had received reports of civilians braving extreme conditions and sheltering for days to provide safety for their families.

The organisation has also learned of the destruction of hundreds of homes and civilian infrastructure, such as schools and hospitals.

“We are committed to helping all those who are feeling the impact of this escalation in violence. We call on the sides to protect civilians and the key infrastructure and services they need to survive, and abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law”, said Martin Schuepp, the ICRC’s Eurasia regional director in Geneva.

The organisation said it was collaborating closely with the Armenian Red Cross and the Azerbaijani Red Crescent to coordinate relief efforts on all sides of the conflict.

12:08 GMT 02.10.2020
11:43 GMT 02.10.2020

GENOA (Sputnik) - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday that the global community must tell Armenia to withdraw from the territories it allegedly occupied.

"Over the last 30 years the territory of Azerbaijan has been under invasion … Azerbaijan has demonstrated much patience, … but nobody made a real effort to find a solution", Cavusoglu said at a joint press conference with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio in Rome.

The minister accused institutions involved in conflict resolution of a lack of impartiality and violation of ethics and international law.

"Putting Azerbaijan and Armenia on the same level is a mistake ... In July it was Armenia who attacked. The lack of solution suits Armenia ... The whole international community should do something, should tell Armenia to withdraw from the territory that it invaded", Cavusoglu stressed. "The mediators' position inspired Yerevan to conduct provocations against Azerbaijan, which still has 20 percent of its lands occupied".

Cavusoglu added that Turkey would be prepared to support Azerbaijan, should Baku ask for it.

"We believe the problem should be resolved under the auspices of the United Nations and with common sense and respect of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan", Cavusoglu said.

He stressed that Azerbaijan was "doing its best."

"In some way, we can say that [Azerbaijan] is fighting against terror and is trying to defend its own territory, because it is able and competent to do so. In order to declare the ceasefire, Armenia must withdraw from the Azerbaijani territory. Azerbaijan has not asked so far for the support of Turkey because it is able to protect itself. But if Azerbaijan asks for it, we will provide our support, and nobody can say anything [against it]", the Turkish minister said.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, in turn, expressed Italy’s concerns over the ongoing fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Karabakh region and reiterated the need to find a solution through negotiations.

"As for the renewed tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia, I expressed the concerns of Italy over the ongoing fights with a risk of a serious military escalation with high costs for the civilian population and for regional stability. We understand that the status quo in the region is not sustainable, but only a solution found through negotiations can bring peace and stability to two countries", Di Maio said at a joint press conference.

11:28 GMT 02.10.2020

YEREVAN (Sputnik) - The two Le Monde reporters who were injured while covering the conflict in the Karabakh region, returned to France, the spokeswoman for the Armenian Foreign Ministry told Sputnik on Friday.

According to the spokeswoman, a special French plane took the two reporters home.

The Armenian government's information Twitter account said earlier this week that the two reporters were targeted in a strike in the Karabakh region.

11:12 GMT 02.10.2020
11:10 GMT 02.10.2020
11:05 GMT 02.10.2020
10:59 GMT 02.10.2020
10:12 GMT 02.10.2020
07:59 GMT 02.10.2020

The Azerbaijani Armed Forces on Friday conducted a strike from a Smerch multiple rocket launcher on the town of Hadrut in Karabakh, the Armenian Defence Ministry's spokesman, Artsrun Hovhannisyan, said on Friday.

"A smerch has just struck the town of Hadrut. Some civilians were injured”, Hovhannisyan wrote on Facebook.

07:16 GMT 02.10.2020

Leyla Abdullayeva, spokeswoman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, took to Twitter on Friday to claim that international and local reporters are "under attack" by the Armenian Armed Forces in the village of Gapanly.

07:10 GMT 02.10.2020
07:09 GMT 02.10.2020

Artak Beglaryan, the ombudsman of the unrecognised Republic of Artsakh in Nagorno-Karabakh, has accused Azerbaijan of using prohibited cluster munitions against civilians in its military operations.

"We have recorded violations of the norms of humanitarian and customary law by Azerbaijan. There have been recorded cases of the use of cluster munitions by this country — bombs and missiles, which is prohibited by international law, especially in relation to civilians and settlements," Beglaryan said in a briefing on Friday.

According to Beglaryan, Azerbaijani forces have used prohibited Israeli-produced cluster munitions designed for long term threat to civilian life.

Baku has yet to comment on these claims.

06:51 GMT 02.10.2020
05:57 GMT 02.10.2020

During a phone conversation with US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said it is necessary to oust Syrian mercenaries from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.

"During the conversation, Pashinyan spoke about Turkey's involvement in the hostilities and Turkey's deployment of Syrian mercenaries and terrorists in Azerbaijan. The Prime Minister stressed the need to expel mercenaries and terrorists from the region, [a condition] without which a ceasefire is impossible”, the press service of the Armenian Cabinet of Ministers said.

According to the press service, O'Brien expressed deep concern over the situation in the region and confirmed US interest in an early ceasefire and reaching stability.

"O'Brien stressed that there is no military solution to the conflict, and reaffirmed the position expressed by the US President in a joint statement with Presidents Putin and Macron", the statement said.

04:51 GMT 02.10.2020

"The Azerbaijani armed forces have taken control of some strategic heights in the Aghdara area, around Mataghis," the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement.

04:49 GMT 02.10.2020
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