Armenia and Azerbaijan are reportedly at the brink of all-our war, following a series of armed clashes in the contested region of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh.
While exact circumstances of the recent bout of military conflict remain unclear, reports indicate casualties have been sustained by both sides.
The two Caucasus nations have been at odds with one another ever since 1988, with historical precedent for the conflict reaching back far longer. The dispute revolves in particular around the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, officially called Artsakh by its predominantly Armenian population. Artsakh is internationally recognised as a part of Azerbaijan, but has de facto been an independent state since 1991.
According to the Armenian Ministry of Defence, Azerbaijani forces shelled the Artsakh capital of Stepanakert and other areas in the early morning, with local sources claiming at least 16 casualties. Armenia also claims it has shot down three Azerbaijani drones and two helicopters, as well as destroying three tanks.
The government of Azerbaijan denied these claims, stating that while one helicopter had been downed, it’s crew survived. Baku furthermore claimed it has destroyed 12 Armenian air defence systems, and claims to have suffered civilian casualties in an Armenian artillery strike.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev even claimed that his forces have moved on the offensive into Nagorno-Karabakh, and have taken several villages, a claim fiercely denied by authorities in Yerevan.
The government of the Republic of Armenia, a predominantly Christian nation with historically close ties to Russia, has ordered the full mobilisation of its armed forces and declared martial law, with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan calling on people to “defend our sacred homeland.”