Armenia warned on Wednesday that fresh clashes with Azerbaijan could escalate into a full-scale war and called for more global attention on the situation.
“There is a clear risk,” Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovhannisyan told Reuters when asked if the situation could turn into another war. “You know how fragile the situation is in our region. The situation as we just mentioned continues to escalate.”
Armenia said that the fighting started when Azerbaijan started shelling Armenian military positions. For their part, the Azeris claim they were responding to sabotage on the border and attacks on their military.
Shelling continued on Wednesday, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that 105 Armenian soldiers had been killed, while Azerbaijan reported on Tuesday that 50 of its servicemembers had died.
Later on Wednesday, Armenia said that the two sides had agreed to a ceasefire that has already taken effect. But the situation remains tense, and Russia said Tuesday that it brokered a ceasefire, which quickly fell apart.
The flare-up is the heaviest fighting in the region since the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, which saw Azerbaijan make sweeping territorial gains. Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnic Armenian enclave within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan and is governed by a self-declared republic known as Artsakh.
Armenia is a treaty ally of Russia under the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an alliance that includes Moscow, Yerevan, and four other post-Soviet states. Azerbaijan receives heavy support from Turkey, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the latest violence on Armenia’s “attitude” toward Azerbaijan and the 2020 ceasefire agreement.
Under conditions of the ceasefire reached in 2020, Armenia ceded territory around Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan that Yerevan previously controlled, and Russian peacekeepers deployed to the region.