Armenia asks Russia for help and denounces that Azerbaijan has invaded part of its territory | International

The fighting continued this Wednesday along the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia, with dozens of casualties for the second consecutive day, in a growing war escalation that threatens to lead these two Caucasus states back to open war for just two years. after they signed a ceasefire. The Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinián, denounced that the Azerbaijani troops “have taken control of some territories” internationally recognized as part of the Republic of Armenia, and estimated the losses at about 10 square kilometers. The Armenian president also requested help from his Russian “ally” by invoking the Collective Security Treaty, a Moscow-led defense organization of which Armenia is a founding member. However, the Kremlin has so far been reluctant to help, due to its situation in Ukraine and important economic relations with Azerbaijan.

Although during the night from Tuesday to Wednesday the situation on the border remained calm, within a certain tension, with the arrival of morning the fighting and the exchange of artillery fire resumed, which increased as the the hours. “From one in the afternoon [11.00 horario peninsular], the adversary launched an intense artillery and rocket barrage along the border from Sotk to Goris, also targeting civilian areas. The adversary also widely uses armed drones,” a spokesperson for the Armenian Defense Ministry said during a press conference. For his part, the deputy press secretary of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry accused the Armenian forces of “provocation” and of having kept “the positions of the Azerbaijani Army under intense fire”, but added that “the firing points of the Armed Forces Armenian Armies were silenced, and the troops involved in the provocations suffered heavy losses and were forced to retreat.”

The NASA FIRMS systemdesigned for fire surveillance, but which has also become a conflict monitoring tool since it detects fire and thermal anomalies almost in real time through satellite and infrared images, it allows confirming dozens of outbreaks on the Armenian side of the border, especially in the province of Syunik, compared to less than a dozen on the Azerbaijani side, in the provinces of Lachin and Kalbayar.

Azerbaijan, a hydrocarbon power, has increased its defense spending in the last two decades to modernize its Army and surpass its neighbor and rival, against whom it lost a war as soon as it became independent from the Soviet Union. Social media accounts linked to the Baku government posted videos of armed drones hitting Russian-made Armenian missile systems, and the president of the Armenian Parliament, Alen Simonian, acknowledged that his country has suffered “significant losses of military equipment.”

The casualties on both sides have not stopped increasing either. Armenia on Wednesday raised the number of its military deaths to 105, while Azerbaijan admitted that the casualties exceed the 50 given the previous day, but without specifying their number. On both sides of the border there are also at least a dozen civilians injured and Yerevan also confirmed that there are deaths, although without specifying how many. The Armenian media outlet Civilnet showed images of vehicles and houses allegedly hit by Azerbaijani artillery in villages near the border. More than 2,500 civilians have been displaced from this area, according to the Human Rights Defender of Armenia, Kristinne Grigorián: “The vast majority of the displaced are women, children, and the elderly.”

Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovhannisian lamented that there is a “clear risk” that the current conflagration will lead to open war and, in fact, the Government has the text of martial law ready for approval in case it sees it necessary (the opposition presses for its implementation). The last time martial law was applied was two years ago, when Azerbaijan launched an offensive to regain control of Nagorno-Karabakh (a region of Azerbaijani territory populated mainly by Armenians that rose up in arms with the support of Yerevan at the beginning of the decade 1990), and that conflict ended with a resounding Armenian defeat and the death of more than 6,500 people between the two countries, which barely add up to 13 million inhabitants.

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Meanwhile, the great powers have mobilized to try to stop the escalation. The representative of the European Union for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar, met on Wednesday with the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and his Foreign Minister, Jeyhun Bayramov. France and the United States called on both sides to stop the violence, but insisted that Azerbaijan must stop attacks on Armenian territory. “The fact is that we have seen clear evidence of Azerbaijani bombing inside Armenia and significant damage to Armenian infrastructure,” said US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Russia, on the other hand, has been more restrained in its statements, despite the fact that it is Armenia’s main military supporter and maintains two military bases on its territory, in addition to 2,000 troops deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh as a peacekeeping force. According to Armenian media, a convoy of border guards from the Russian FSB security service was hit in Armenia on its way to that area, something Yerevan accused the Azerbaijani Army of, but the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense denied.

On Thursday, the mission of the Collective Security Treaty Organization will arrive in Armenia to collect information. For the moment, this is all that Yerevan has achieved from Russia, despite having asked for stronger support to counter Azerbaijani superiority.

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