For the eighth day in a row, fierce battles continued between the Armenian and Azerbaijani forces. While Iran has deployed tanks on the border with both sides, Russia issued a new statement on the crisis.
The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan announced that the Armenian army bombed the city of Ganja, which is the second most populated city in Azerbaijan after the capital Baku. The Azerbaijani authorities said that the bombing killed a civilian and injured 4 others.
The Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov described the bombing of Ganja as a provocative act, “which was carried out from the territory of Armenia with the aim of expanding the area of clashes.”
Hikmat Hajiyev, assistant to the Azerbaijani president, said today that his country will directly destroy the military targets inside Armenia, from which the missiles targeting the Azerbaijani cities are launched.
These developments come in light of the escalation of fighting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian forces inside the disputed Nagorno Karabakh region and in the nearby areas.
On Sunday, Turkey condemned “attacks carried out by Armenian forces on the city of Ganja in the context of the conflict related to Karabakh.”
Turkey supports Azerbaijan in the decades-old conflict over Nagorny Karabakh, which Baku considers under Armenian occupation.
However, the Armenian Ministry of Defense denied that the bombing of Ganja took place from its territory, and said that it was carried out from the Karabakh region.
Today, Sunday, Al-Jazeera correspondent reported that there had been intense artillery and drones bombing on Stepana Curt, the capital of Karabakh province, which led to the interruption of the communications and electricity network.
And the French Press Agency reported that sirens sounded this morning in the capital of the region, before the successive explosions resulting from the new bombing of the Azerbaijani forces.
Baku authorities stated that they took “retaliatory measures” after Armenian separatists – who control the region – fired shells from Stepana Kurt.
And the Karabakh region authorities announced that 18 civilians were killed and more than 90 wounded during a week of fighting.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that his country’s forces had taken control of 7 villages that were under “Armenian occupation.”
The Armenian Foreign Ministry said that great human and material losses occurred as a result of the Azerbaijani forces bombing civilian areas with artillery and missiles.
For its part, the Armenian Ministry of Defense announced that its forces responded to the attack of Azerbaijani forces on all fighting axes, and that the Azerbaijani army forces suffered losses in lives and equipment.
The ministry indicated that its forces are still controlling all areas of the “Faizuli and Gabriel” axis in the south, and the “Tartre” axis in the north.
For its part, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Minister Sergey Lavrov called for a ceasefire in Karabakh as soon as possible.
On Sunday, Russia expressed its “concern about the high number of civilian casualties” in the battles between Armenian separatist forces in Nagorno Karabakh and the Azerbaijani army for the eighth consecutive day.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the minister had made a phone call with his Armenian counterpart, repeating his call for a “ceasefire as soon as possible,” and that he informed him of Moscow’s readiness to find a solution through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
In the same context, Iranian media reported that the Iranian armed forces had deployed a number of tanks in the regions on the borders with Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Informed sources added that the tanks are of the homemade “Karrar” model of the Iranian army’s ground forces.
On Saturday, Iran stressed that it would not bear any aggression from any party on its borders close to the conflict circle in the Nagorno Karabakh region.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry strongly warned all parties to the conflict in the region regarding the necessity to ensure that attacks on its borders are not repeated.
The Iranian official news agency (IRNA) reported in recent days that a number of missiles fell on the border areas in northwestern Iran as a result of the ongoing conflict on the other side of the border.
The shells fell in particular in the provinces of Aslandoz (Ardabil Province) and KhadAfrin (East Azerbaijan), resulting in the injury of a six-year-old child, and damage to homes and agricultural lands.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry said that it is monitoring with very high sensitivity all movements near its borders, and calls for an immediate end to the battles in the Nagorno Karabakh region.