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Azerbaijan launches military action in disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijan has begun what it called an “anti-terrorist operation” targeting Armenian military positions in the Nagorno-Karabakh region amid reports of heavy artillery firing around its capital.

The Azerbaijani defence ministry announced the start of the operation on Tuesday hours after four soldiers and two civilians died in landmine explosions in the region.

The reports raised concerns that a full-scale war could resume between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which fought heavily for six weeks in 2020.

The ministry did not immediately give details, but said “positions on the front line and in-depth, long-term firing points of the formations of Armenia’s armed forces, as well as combat assets and military facilities are incapacitated using high-precision weapons.”

The Azerbaijani statement said, “Only legitimate military targets are being incapacitated.”

Armenia called on the UN Security Council and Russia to take action to end the military operation.

“Clear and unambiguous steps to end Azerbaijani aggression” are needed, according to a statement from the foreign ministry in Yerevan circulated by Armenian media on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called an emergency meeting of the National Security Council over the escalation.

Ethnic Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said in a statement that the region’s capital Stepanakert and other villages were “under intense shelling”.

Earlier on Tuesday, Azerbaijan said six people were killed in two separate explosions in the region that is partly under the control of ethnic Armenian forces.

A statement from Azerbaijan’s interior ministry, state security service and prosecutor-general said two employees of the highway department died before dawn when their vehicle was blown up by a mine and that a truckload of soldiers responding to the incident hit another mine, killing four.

The EU condemned the military escalation and called for dialogue.

“We call for the immediate cessation of hostilities and for Azerbaijan to stop the current military activities,” EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement.

-AP, with dpa 

Topics: Armenia
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