New battles between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Moscow and Ankara will discuss the situation

New battles between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Moscow and Ankara will discuss the situation

TBILISI/ANKARA (Reuters) – Fresh fighting broke out between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces on Wednesday morning, prompting international diplomatic efforts to end the violence, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are scheduled to discuss the situation when they meet in this week.

After the most violent clashes since the autumn 2020 war between the two Caucasian republics, a senior Turkish official said Wednesday that the Russian and Turkish presidents would discuss the situation when they meet in Samarkand on Friday.

“Turkey has started to establish contacts to resolve the issue between the two countries. It must be ended before it develops further,” the official said, asking for anonymity.

The responsibility of both nations for resolving the conflict is “obvious”, he believes, while Moscow has peacekeeping forces in the conflict zone and Ankara supports Azerbaijan.

“Turkey will continue to support Azerbaijan in every sense of the word,” the official added.

At least 49 Armenian and 50 Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in clashes along the border between the two countries on Tuesday, blaming each other for the escalation.

Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovhannisian said the toll is likely to increase significantly.

“Our positions are currently under regular fire,” the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on Wednesday. “Our units are taking the necessary response measures.”

Russia, the United States, France and the European Union called for restraint and increased diplomatic efforts to end the fighting.

EU Special Envoy Toivo Klaar was due to arrive in the South Caucasus on Wednesday to facilitate dialogue between Baku and Yerevan.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday urged Moscow to use its influence in the region to “calm people’s minds” and avoid “touching the knife in the wound.”

A 44-day war waged between the two countries in the fall of 2020 over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, recognized by the international community as an integral part of Azerbaijan and inhabited mainly by Armenians.

A ceasefire agreement mediated by Russia ended the conflict in November 2020 with the deployment of around 2,000 peacekeeping troops by Moscow.

(Report Nailia Bagirova in Baku, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber in Tbilisi, Lidia Kelly in Melbourne and Orhan Coskun written by Daren Butler, French version Bertrand Boucey and Alizée Degorce edited by Kate Entringer)


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