YEREVAN | Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed Thursday their fighting cross-border, after a day of cease-fire, according to the Defence ministries of the two countries, accusing each other of having started the hostilities.
The belligerents have said in separate releases that: “the fighting is ongoing,” Thursday morning at the northern border between the two countries, Yerevan, Baku, claiming each to have replicated an offensive opponent.
The two countries, in conflict for decades, had stopped the fighting between midnight on Wednesday (15: Tuesday at Montreal), and on Thursday morning, after three days of deadly clashes.
“After an intense battle, the enemy has been repulsed,” said the ministry in armenia, claiming to have prevented Thursday morning an “infiltration attempt” and inflicted losses on his opponent.
Then, according to Yerevan, the forces of azerbaijan have started shortly after 5 a.m. local to “pounding the villages of Aygepar and Movses in the mortar and the howitzer D30”.
The department of Azerbaijani Defense has argued the opposite, saying, “there is a unit of the armed forces of Armenia has again tried to attack our positions in the district of Tovouz of the border azerbaijan-Armenian”.
According to him, the villages of Aghdam, Donar Gouchtchou and Vakhidli experienced “the firing of heavy weapons and mortars”.
No camp has reported losses on Thursday, Azerbaijan, stating only not to have recorded casualties among civilians.
At least 16 people have been killed between Sunday and Tuesday in the most serious clashes between the two countries since 2016. Among them, 11 servicemen and a civilian Azerbaijani and four Armenian soldiers. Baku has, in particular, lost a general.
The two ex-soviet republics have been in conflict for decades around the Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region of Azerbaijan, supported by Armenia and the theatre of a war in the early 1990s.
The recent clashes, however, have a place away from this territory, on the northern border between the two ex-soviet republics of the Caucasus, an escalation of the rare which makes us fear a conflict of greater magnitude in the unstable Caucasus.
Russia, the regional power, the United States and the european Union have all called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to cease hostilities.
Baku, which has significant revenue due to its reserves of huge oil, has for years spent without relying on weapons, and has threatened to retake Nagorno-Karabakh by force of arms if necessary, while international mediation fails for almost 30 years to find a negotiated solution.
Azerbaijan has also the support of Turkey.
Armenia is closer to Russia, which has a military base in Armenian territory. Yerevan also belongs to a politico-military alliance led by Moscow, the Organization of the collective security treaty.
The Kremlin, which positions itself as arbiter in the region to maintain its influence, book however of arms to both countries.
He is still able up to now to prevent an open war between these ex-soviet republics, which were on the brink of civil war the last time in 2016.