A new round of military escalation broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia today, Sunday, in the disputed Nagorno Karabakh region, as Armenian separatists declared a state of war and general mobilization, while the Azerbaijani side confirmed civilian and military deaths, amid accusations that the two sides exchanged accusations of starting the fighting.
Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan said – early this morning – that Azerbaijan attacked civilian areas in the region.
The Armenian Ministry of Defense said that its forces shot down two military helicopters and 3 drones for Azerbaijan, in response to this attack, noting that its sites in Nagorny Karabakh have been exposed in recent days to air and missile attacks.
In the same context, the Armenian administration in the region said that the Azerbaijani army began bombing the contact line between the two sides on Sunday morning and civilian targets, including Khankendi, the provincial capital.
For its part, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement that the Armenian army had started “a large-scale provocation in the early hours of the morning, by firing light and heavy weapons against Azeri military and civilian sites.”
The statement stated that the Armenian fire inflicted casualties among civilians and caused great damage to the civilian infrastructure in a number of villages that were subjected to heavy bombardment.
He explained that the Azerbaijani army decided to launch a counterattack along the front line to respond to what he called Armenian provocations, in order to protect civilians in the region.
The statement indicated that the Azerbaijani forces destroyed a number of Armenian military facilities and vehicles deep in the front line, including 12 “OSA” anti-aircraft missile systems (OSA).
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry acknowledged that the Armenian army shot down a military helicopter near the “Tartar” site in the region, but confirmed the helicopter crew’s survival.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are locked in a decades-long conflict over the Nagorno Karabakh region in southwestern Azerbaijan, which was controlled by Armenian separatists during a war in the 1990s that killed 30,000 people.