Armenia and Azerbaijan allege shelling attacks outside Nagorno-Karabakh
Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of launching attacks outside of Nagorno-Karabakh, with claims of one civilian death, as the UN security council said it would hold emergency talks to try to end the fighting over the contested region.
Armenia’s foreign ministry said one civilian was killed in the Vardenis after Azerbaijani forces shelled “civilian-military infrastructure” in the border town of Vardenis miles away from the breakaway territory. It also claimed a civilian bus in the town was set on fire by an unmanned drone.
Azerbaijan’s defence ministry had earlier accused Armenia of shelling the Dashkasan region, north of Nagorno-Karabakh – a claim the Armenian foreign ministry denied.
As fears grew of the conflict widening, the UN security council said it would hold emergency talks behind closed doors. The meeting will be held at 5pm ET (9pm GMT) on Tuesday. Belgium formally requested the session, after France and Germany had led a push for it to be placed on the agenda.
As early as Sunday, Estonia - a non-permanent council member - emphasised the need for such talks about the outbreak of deadly violence in the separatist region.
Britain also joined the European push for the talks, said diplomats, who added that a joint declaration could be issued at its conclusion – either by the entire council or its European members if a full consensus cannot be reached.
Armenian and Azerbaijani forces fought over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh for a second day Monday, with both sides blaming each other for resuming the attacks that reportedly killed and wounded dozens as the decades-old conflict has reignited.
Heavy fighting had broken out Sunday in the region that lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by the Yerevan government since 1994 at the end of a separatist war.
Fighting continued overnight, the Azerbaijiani defence ministry said, adding that opposing forces attempted to recover lost ground by launching counterattacks in the directions of Fuzuli, Cebrayil, Agdere and Terter.
Azerbaijani military officials also told the Interfax news agency that over 550 Armenian troops have been destroyed, including those wounded, a claim that Armenia denied.
The clashes have taken place in the middle of the annual UN general assembly and raised fears of a war between the two former Soviet republics.
At least 95 people have been killed in the most recent fighting, including 11 civilians, according to the latest available tallies.