He Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan announced today start of an “anti-terrorist operation” in the region of Karabakhbehind the explosion of two mines and an attack with light weapons and mortars that the capital attributes to Armenia. “Local anti-terrorist actions have begun in the region,” the military department said in a statement. Defense indicated that this operation seeks to “guarantee compliance with the provisions of the three-party declaration” between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russiawhich ended the 2020 war, in which Baku recovered a large part of the territories lost during the first fight in Nagorno Karabakh.

Nagorno Karabakhself-proclaimed independent in 1991, has since been the bone of contention between Armenia and Azerbaijanwho fought two wars, one in the early 1990s that ended with the Armenian victory and another in 2020, in which the Azerbaijanis won. The territory belongs under the International Law to Azerbaijan, but ethnic Armenians live there. As a result of the most recent 44-day dispute, Baku recovered more than two-thirds of its territory in the mountainous region and its surroundings that had been declared a security zone by Yerevan, although Armenia had to maintain communication with the enclave through the Lachin corridor, blocked by Azerbaijan for nine months. Tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia have increased in recent daysbetween complaints of troop movements from both parties, and They threaten to destroy the ceasefire reached in 2020 with Russian mediation.

Azerbaijan noted that anti-terrorist actions are intended to “expel armed formations from Armenia” of the Azerbaijani territories, “neutralize its military infrastructure, guarantee the security of the civilian population” and restore constitutional order. The Ministry of Defense announced the start of the operation after the death of six Azerbaijanis -two civilians and four police officers- as a result of the explosion of two mines in the Karabakh region, and an attack with mortars and light weapons in the Agdam region, where the Russian peacekeeping contingent is based. Baku blamed these incidents on “a sabotage group of illegal Armenian military formations” and opened a criminal case for terrorismpremeditated murder based on ethnic hatred and illegal possession of weapons and explosives.

Nagorno-Karabakh authorities denounce massive bombings by Baku

The Nagorno-Karabakh authorities They accused this Tuesday Baku to launch a “large-scale military offensive”. “At this time the capital, Stepanakert, and other cities and towns are under massive artillery bombardment,” said a statement from the Karabakh Foreign Ministry. The Foreign Minister of Nagorno Karabakh, Sergei Ghazaryanstressed for his part that Baku had been carrying out troop movements near the enclave for several weeks, something that he accompanied with “intense propaganda activities, which prepared the ground for large-scale aggression.” In the last 24 hours alone, he added, Azerbaijan spread several “false” information, including news about alleged attacks by Armenian sabotage groups or shootings against Azerbaijani positions in the region.

Armenia denies having armed forces in Nagorno Karabakh

The Ministry of Armenia’s defense in turn denied having armed forces in Nagorno Karabakh, as Baku maintains. “Azerbaijani official statements and media spread the false statement that there are units of the Armenian Armed Forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Ministry of Defense has said repeatedly and reiterates it now that has no units deployed in Nagorno Karabakh“says the military statement. Baku’s armed actions in the Armenian enclave take place after a nine-month blockade to which the Azerbaijani authorities subjugated the Karabakhis after the closure of the only route that linked the region with Armenia.

Images of Stepanakert residents circulating on social media in which gunshots and the sound of aerial alarms can be heard. According to Armenian Telegram channels, residents of the Karabakh capital and other cities have gone down to the basements to protect from air raids. A Russian peacekeeping contingent is deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is in the region after the 2020 war between the Armenians and the Azerbaijanis.

Thus, Armenia called this Tuesday to the Russian peacekeepers deployed in Nagorno Karabakh to “take clear and unambiguous action” to put an end to “Azerbaijan’s aggression” against this territory, which belongs to the latter country but is populated by Armenians.

Russia is “deeply concerned” by the escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh

Russia today expressed itself “deeply concerned” by the “abrupt” escalation of the situation in Nagorno Karabakh. “We are deeply concerned about the bsharp escalation of the situation in Nagorno Karabakh. Russia insistently calls on the parties to stop the bloodshedimmediately cease military actions and return to the path of political-diplomatic settlement“said María Zajárova, Foreign Ministry spokesperson, in her weekly press conference.

The diplomat highlighted that the news coming from the area speaks of an anti-terrorist operation launched by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces to which the Karabakh armed units have responded. In turn, Russian peacekeeping forces deployed in the area are in permanent contact with Azerbaijanis and Karabakhs to achieve “a ceasefire,” she added.