One Azerbaijani and two Armenian soldiers are confirmed dead and at least 19 Armenians wounded after clashes broke out on Wednesday morning in Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to an official statement from the Nagorno-Karabakh Army, Azerbaijani troops employed mortars and unmanned aerial vehicles in an unprovoked attack. Azerbaijani media also released footage of a drone strike on an Armenian position.
In a statement late on Wednesday afternoon, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry said they had conducted a retaliatory ‘revenge’ operation, accusing ‘illegal Armenian armed groups’ of violating the ceasefire. The ministry said they had taken control of several new positions in Nagorno-Karabakh as a result.
In their evening statement, the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh accused Azerbaijan of breaking the ceasefire to the northeast of Lachin (Berdzor). They said they were ‘taking measures’ with both sides to ‘stabilise the situation’.
On Wednesday afternoon, Nagorno-Karabakh announced a partial mobilisation as unconfirmed reports of clashes continue.
In the morning, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence said that an 18-year-old soldier had been killed in the early hours of the morning near Lachin.
On Tuesday, the authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said that Azerbaijan had demanded that the Lachin corridor, which connects Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh, be handed over to them in the ‘near future’.
The ceasefire agreement that brought an end to the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War stipulates that the Lachin corridor fall under the control of Russian peacekeepers until a replacement road could be built, after which it would be handed over to Azerbaijan.
However, construction of the new road, which Russian peacekeepers would take control of, has not yet begun.
Stepanakert reported that tensions remained high in several areas along the line of contact on Wednesday.
Tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh have been running high for several weeks, despite a renewed diplomatic push by the US and EU in ongoing peace talks.
On Monday evening, the Nagorno-Karabakh army reported that Azerbaijani forces attempted to cross the line of contact in the north and northwest of Nagorno-Karabakh and that one soldier had been wounded, a claim echoed by the Russian peacekeeping mission.
[Read more: Tensions flare in Nagorno-Karabakh]
The European Union expressed concern about the situation after the reported clashes on Monday, while US Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried held phone conversations with the foreign ministers of both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Armenian Foreign Ministry also announced on Wednesday that in a meeting with the special representative of the acting head of the OSCE Andrzej Kasprzyk,, Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan spoke about the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.
For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.