New tensions explode over Karabakh, 3 soldiers killed

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New tensions erupted over Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday as three soldiers were killed and Azerbaijan said it had taken control of several strategic heights in the disputed region.

The escalation drew immediate international rebuke, with Russia accusing Baku of violating the brittle ceasefire and the European Union urging an “immediate cessation of hostilities”.

In the aftermath of the latest war, Armenia was forced to cede swathes of territory it had controlled for decades, and Russia deployed some 2,000 peacekeepers to oversee a fragile truce, but tensions persist despite a ceasefire agreement.

The Azerbaijani defence ministry said Karabakh troops targeted its army positions in the district of Lachin, which is under the supervision of the Russian peacekeeping force, killing an Azerbaijani conscript.

The army of the breakaway statelet for its part accused Azerbaijan of violating a ceasefire and killing two soldiers and wounding another 14.

Armenia called on the international community to help stop Azerbaijan’s “aggressive actions” after the flare-up.

Armenia accused Azerbaijan of seeking to make unilateral changes over the Lachin corridor that links Armenia and Karabakh.

“The ceasefire regime was violated by the armed forces of Azerbaijan around the Saribaba height,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

– ‘Essential to de-escalate’ –

The European Union called for an “immediate cessation of hostilities” between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in Karabakh. 

“The European Union remains committed to help overcome tensions and continue its engagement towards sustainable peace and stability in the South Caucasus,” he added.

In his statement, he also called for “a negotiated, comprehensive, and sustainable settlement of all remaining issues” tied to the conflict.

Six weeks of fighting in the autumn of 2020 claimed more than 6,500 lives and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement.

The oil-rich country has vowed to repopulate the recaptured lands.

eg-mkh-bur/imm/smw/yad

Originally published as New tensions explode over Karabakh, 3 soldiers killed


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