In a flare-up of conflict early Thursday, 155 soldiers from both Armenia and Azerbaijan were killed. However, according to an Armenian official, Armenia and Azerbaijan negotiated a cease-fire to end the violence. A televised announcement from Armenia’s Security Council secretary Armen Grigoryan informed the public that the truth had come into effect hours earlier, at 08:00 pm on Wednesday. Russia brokered a previous cease-fire on Tuesday, but it quickly collapsed.
In a recent resurgence of fighting, Armenia and Azerbaijan have reached a ceasefire, resulting in 155 soldiers from both sides being killed. Armenia’s Security Council secretary, Armen Grigoryan, announced that the truce had taken effect an hour earlier, at 8:00 PM local time. pic.twitter.com/fxjwk7adwA
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The Armenian Defence Ministry reported earlier that shelling had ceased but did not mention the cease-fire agreement. The government of Azerbaijan did not comment immediately. A cease-fire was declared after two days of heavy fighting between the two longtime enemies, the longest spate of hostilities between them since almost two years ago. On Wednesday evening, thousands of Armenian protestors took to the streets, accusing Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of betraying his country by appeasing Azerbaijan. They demanded his resignation.
Throughout the hostilities, Armenian authorities and Azerbaijani officials have exchanged blame, with Armenia accusing Baku of unprovoked aggression and Azerbaijani officials claiming their country was responding to Armenian shelling. Since the fighting began early Tuesday, Pashinyan reported that 105 soldiers had been killed, while Azerbaijan said fifty soldiers had been killed. According to authorities in Azerbaijan, up to a hundred Armenian soldiers’ bodies will be unilaterally turned over to Armenians.
Azerbaijan and Armenia Conflict Brief History
In 1994, a separatist war between the former Soviet countries ended with Azerbaijan regaining control over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan but controlled by ethnic Armenian forces supported by Armenia. Azerbaijan could reclaim large swaths of Nagorno-Karabakh during a six-week military campaign in 2020. An end to the fighting was negotiated by Russia, which resulted in more than 6,700 deaths. Under the agreement, approximately 2,000 troops from Moscow will serve as peacekeepers in the region.
Since the fighting began, Azerbaijani forces have occupied 10 square kilometers of Armenian territory. As part of the friendship treaty between the countries, the Azerbaijan government has requested military aid from Russia and Collective Security Treaty Organization assistance. Pashinyan said that his allies were Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which states that aggression against one member is aggression against all.
During an address to his nation’s parliament, Pashinyan said that military intervention wasn’t the only possibility, but there were also political and diplomatic options. His remarks indicate that Armenia is prepared to recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan under a future peace treaty if it relinquishes control of the lands seized by Azerbaijani forces in Armenia.
It is not acceptable to sign a document for which many people will criticize it, denounce it, and call us traitors, and they may even consider removing us from office. Still, we would be grateful if it resulted in lasting peace and security for Armenia”, Pashinyan said. Some in the opposition interpreted Pashinyan’s remarks as indicating he was willing to concede to Azerbaijan’s demands and recognize Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh. The government’s headquarters was rapidly surrounded by thousands of angry protesters, accusing Pashinyan of treason and calling for his resignation.
Outbreak of Fighting
Pashinyan denounced reports, describing the protests in Yerevan as attempts to destroy the state, alleging that he had signed a pact accepting Azerbaijani demands. Grigoryan, the secretary of the Security Council, also condemned the protests, describing them as attempts to destroy the state. As a result of the uproar, Arayik Harutyunyan, the leader of Nagorno-Karabakh, has stated that the region will not agree to become an integral part of the Azerbaijani system and will continue to pursue independence.
It has become increasingly difficult for Moscow to maintain friendly relations with Armenia and Turkey amidst rising tensions in Yerevan. While maintaining close economic ties with Armenia, which hosts a Russian military base, it also maintains a close relationship with oil-rich Azerbaijan. As a result, some analysts have interpreted the outbreak of fighting as Azerbaijan’s attempt to force Armenian authorities to implement some provisions of the 2020 peace deal more quickly, including opening transport corridors through its territory.
According to Sergei Markedonov, a Russian expert on the South Caucasus region, “Azerbaijan’s military potential is greater than Armenia’s, and so the latter tries to impose conditions on Armenia and to exert pressure using force.” During this period of flare-up, Markedonov pointed out that Russia was forced to retreat from northeastern Ukrainian areas following a counteroffensive by the Ukrainian army. As a result of Armenia’s request for support, Russia has found itself in a precarious position.
Putin to Meet Aliyev in Samarkand
On Tuesday evening, Russian Leader Vladimir Putin and leaders of other members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization discussed the situation over the phone, urging an immediate cease-fire. Top officials from the security alliance will be sent to the area as part of the mission. Russia and China head the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an organization dominated by Russia and China, and Putin and Aliyev will meet in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Friday.