Updated at 14.00 CEST
Armenia and Azerbaijan continued to exchange artillary fire across their international border on Monday (13 July), despite inernational pressure on both sides to return to the cease fire arrangements.
It is understood that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has spoken to both the Armenian and the Azerbaijan foreign ministers this morning as international concern about a possible escalation in the hostilities increases
Fighting continued on Monday (13 July) for the second day, in the northern sector of the international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has now confirmed it has lost four soldiers in the fighting. The latest casualty was named as Lieutenant Rashad Mahmudov. Armenia continues to insist it has not lost any of its personnel in the fighting.
Fighting erupted around lunch time on Sunday (12 July) in yet unclear circumstances, with both sides blaming the other. Throughout the night and on Monday morning there were reports of ongoing exchanges of artillary fire.
This morning, Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev convened a session of the National Security Council to discuss the situation. "Yesterday and tonight, the enemy received an adequate response. Revenge of our servicemen has been taken and will be taken in the future," APA news agency quoted the president as saying when he addressed the meeting.
On his part, Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan tweeted "We strongly condemn provocative actions of Azerbaijani armed forces & with their resumption, political-military leadership of #Azerbaijan will bear all the responsibility for the unpredictable consequences of undermining regional stability".
There is concern in the international community at the ongoing situation. It is understood that both sides have been in contact with the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairmanship, Ambassador Andrezej Kasperzyk, as well as with the Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Process.
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it was seriously concerned about the escalation of the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on July 12.
"According to the information we received military operations are underway, artillery is being used, and there are dead and wounded. We express our condolences to the families and relatives of the victims.
We think that escalation, which threatens the security of the region, is unacceptable. We call on the parties to exercise restraint and adhere to the ceasefire."
EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar, also tweeted his concern:
Very concerned about exchange of fire on Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Important for both countries to show restraint and to use all channels of communication, both direct and the good offices of the #OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs
— Toivo Klaar (@ToivoKlaar) July 13, 2020
It is understood that Armenia has called for an urgent meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), the Russia led military alliance of which Armenia is a full member. The CSTO has traditionally not involved iteself with incidents in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, but since the current fighting is taking place on the international border the organisation is bound to react to a call from a member state.
source: commonspace.eu with agencies
photo: Soldiers carrying mortar (archive picture)
The incident appears to have erupted after a 27-year-old resident of Kulakam village was reported to have been murdered.