Azerbaijan and Armenia both rejected pressure to hold peace talks after fighting erupted in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. The conflict could be spreading further, as both sides have accused one another of firing directly into each other’s territory on Tuesday.
Azeri President Ilham Aliyev spoke to Russian media and ruled out the possibility of any talks. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told the same media outlet that negotiations are not possible while fighting continues.
Since fighting started on Sunday, dozens have been reported killed and hundreds wounded. With clashes continuing for the third day, it prompted the UN to convene for emergency talks. Observers noted this is the heaviest fighting the enclave has seen since a ceasefire was declared in 1994.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a region within Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized borders that is administrated by ethnic Armenians who are backed by Yerevan. The conflict could lead to a full-blown war between Armenia and Azerbaijan that could risk drawing in other regional players.
Turkey has declared its support for Azerbaijan and called for Armenia to end its “occupation” of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia said a Turkish F-16 shot down one of its warplanes over Armenian airspace, a charge Ankara has denied. Reports say Turkey is sending support to Azerbaijan in the form of Syrian mercenaries.