An Azerbaijani soldier stands guard at a checkpoint on a road entering Fizuli from Hadrut (archives).
Azerbaijan claimed to have taken control of several positions and destroyed Armenian targets in Nagorny Karabakh on Wednesday, during an escalation that left three people dead and revived the risk of war in this mountainous enclave.
Control has been established on several important heights, including hills, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding that its forces were fortifying these positions.
Earlier on Wednesday, both sides reported the deaths of at least two Armenian separatists and an Azerbaijani soldier in violence around Karabakh that raises the specter of a new war after the 2020 one.
These incidents also risk weighing on the peace talks that have been taking place for several months between Azerbaijan and Armenia, two rival ex-Soviet republics in the Caucasus , with the mediation of the European Union.
Russia, which sponsored the ceasefire that ended the 2020 war and deployed a peacekeeping force in Karabakh, has accused Azerbaijani forces of violating the truce in the area of Saribaba.
Moscow, which regards the Caucasus region as its backyard, is taking steps to stabilize the situation, the Russian Defense Ministry added in a statement.
The European Union for its part has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. It is essential to de-escalate, to fully respect the ceasefire and to return to the negotiating table to seek negotiated solutions, Peter Stano, the spokesman for the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, said in a press release. .
On Wednesday, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced the death of a conscript after heavy gunfire targeted an Azerbaijani army position in the district of Lachin, a buffer zone between the Armenian border and Nagorny Karabakh.
Azerbaijan claimed to have carried out in retaliation an operation called Vengeance, during which several combat positions of illegal Armenian armed elements were destroyed.
The Ministry of the Defense released a video showing several explosions presented as the result of strikes on the Armenian positions.
Two members of the Armenian separatist forces were killed and 14 wounded, a declared the authorities of the enclave, denouncing a flagrant violation of the ceasefire.
A burning house in the city of Lachin called Berdzor by the Armenians (archives).
Faced with this situation, the Armenian Foreign Ministry urged the international community to take measures to stop Azerbaijan's aggressive attitude and actions.
Sign of the escalation of tensions, the leader of the separatists of Nagorny Karabakh, Arayik Haroutiounian, signed a decree on Wednesday proclaiming a partial military mobilization in this territory, according to the site of the presidency.
After a first war that left more than 30,000 dead in the early 1990s, Armenia and Azerbaijan clashed again in the fall of 2020 for control of Nagorny Karabakh, a region mountainous which, supported by Yerevan, had seceded from Azerbaijan.
More than 6500 people were killed in this new war lost by Armenia.
As part of a ceasefire agreement brokered by Moscow, which has deployed peacekeepers in Nagorny Karabakh, Yerevan has relented. important territories to Azerbaijan.
This ceasefire agreement has been experienced as a humiliation in Armenia, where several opposition parties have been demanding since the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, whom they accuse of having made too many concessions in Baku.
Despite a timid diplomatic relaxation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, tensions remain high between the two former Soviet republics. Both countries regularly report outbreaks of violence and casualties among soldiers.
Mediated by the European Union, the two countries are negotiating to reach a treaty of peace.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev held talks in Brussels in April and May with Pashinyan. According to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the two leaders could meet again this summer.
The foreign ministers of the two countries also met last month, in Georgia, for their first direct talks since the end of the 2020 war.