EU calls for 'full ceasefire’ after clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia

Azerbaijan and Armenia on Tuesday traded accusations of the other side initiating fighting along their shared border as fresh clashes erupted between the arch foes a year after their war over contested territory.

Azerbaijan’s defence ministry said, “Armenia’s armed forces committed a large-scale provocation at the state border at 11:00 am (GMT 0700) on Tuesday.

“Armenian troops attacked Azerbaijani positions in the districts of Kelbajar and Lachin,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that two Azerbaijani troops were wounded in the clashes.

Azerbaijani troops “stopped the enemy’s advance, surrounded and detained Armenian servicemen,” it added.

Last year’s six-week armed conflict for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region killed more than 6,500 people and ended in November with a Russian-brokered truce.

Under the ceasefire agreement, Armenia ceded swaths of territory it had controlled for decades.

In the meantime Armenia’s defence ministry said there are fatalities and wounded among Armenian troops as a result of fighting that erupted following an attack by Azerbaijani forces.  Yerevan had “lost control of two military positions," said the ministry.

Armenia’s defence ministry noted that Azerbaijani forces “attempted to break through the Armenia’s state border, at the eastern direction” before being repelled by Armenian troops.

It said that four Armenian soldiers were wounded and noted that “Azerbaijani armed forces are using artillery and weapons of various calibres”.

It is reported that Armenia appealed to ally Russia for military support in protecting its territorial integrity, according to their military pact.

“Since Azerbaijan has attacked Armenia’s sovereign territory we are asking Russia to defend Armenia’s territorial integrity based on an existing 1987 (mutual defence) agreement between our countries,” the Interfax news agency quoted Armen Grigoryan, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, as saying.

Russia has a military base in Armenia as well as a peacekeeping force in Nagorno-Karabakh. There was no immediate response from Russia to the Armenian appeal.

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan said the situation along their border remained tense with clashes continuing on Tuesday afternoon.

European Council President Charles Michel urged the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan on Tuesday (16 November) to call a “full ceasefire” after new border clashes erupted between the old foes.

Michel said he had spoken to President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia.

Michel did not apportion blame for the “challenging situation in the region” but demanded an “urgent de-escalation and full ceasefire.”

“The EU is committed to work with partners to overcome tensions for a prosperous and stable South Caucasus,” he tweeted. / Argumentum.al