Two Karakalpak Activists Reportedly Detained In Almaty, Kazakhstan

Clashes erupted again on September 14 between Azerbaijan and Armenia as world leaders called for an immediate cessation in hostilities and international peace efforts intensified.

Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of instigating new rounds of cross-border shelling, which came a day after the deadliest clashes between the two Caucasus neighbors since the end of a 2020 war over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on September 14 raised the number of ethnic Armenian troops killed in the recent clashes from 49 to 105, and Azerbaijan said it was ready to hand over the corpses of up to 100 Armenian troops to the other side.

Azerbaijan said on September 13 that it had lost 50 troops. The Defense Ministry’s press service did not give an update on casualties during a briefing on September 14 but said additional information would be provided.

Pashinian told parliament that Armenia had appealed to the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to help it restore its territorial integrity.

“Our allies are Russia and the CSTO,” Pashinian said, adding that the collective security pact states that an aggression against one member is an aggression against all.

“We don’t see a military intervention as the only possibility because there are also political and diplomatic options,” Pashinian told the parliament.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry accused Azerbaijani forces of launching combat drones in the direction of the Armenian resort town of Jermuk overnight and renewing shelling with artillery and mortars in the direction of Jermuk and the village of Verin Shorzha.

As a result of shelling, six civilians were injured, four of whom were hospitalized, the Ministry of Health said.

Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Aram Torosian said the situation remained tense. In the late afternoon on September 14 “the enemy continued intensive rocket attacks along the entire border from Sotk to Goris, during which civilian settlements were also targeted, and attack drones were widely used,” Torosian said.

The Azerbaijani military said two Azerbaijani civilians were killed in shelling of its positions in the Kalbacar and Lacin districts of Azerbaijan near the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Diplomatic efforts to calm the situation were under way on September 14.

Toivo Klaar, the special representative of the European Union for the South Caucasus, met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and expressed concern. Klaar noted that EU leaders had spoken by phone with Pashinian and Aliyev.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also spoke by phone with the two leaders, while the State Department said Washington would “push for an immediate halt to fighting and a peace settlement.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also urged the two sides to urgently de-escalate tensions.

Aliyev accused Armenia of provoking the attacks and said that Azerbaijan supports the peace agenda already begun by Brussels.

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry echoed Aliyev’s statement, saying on September 14 that, despite the appeals of the international community, “Armenian armed forces continue attacks and provocations in the state border using artillery and other heavy weapons.”

Baku and Yerevan have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for years. Armenian-backed separatists seized the mainly Armenian-populated region from Azerbaijan during a war in the early 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.

The two sides fought another war in 2020 that lasted six weeks before a Russia-brokered cease-fire, resulting in Armenia losing control over parts of the region and seven adjacent districts.

Under the cease-fire Moscow deployed about 2,000 troops to the region to serve as peacekeepers. Russia moved quickly to negotiate an end to the latest hostilities, but a renewal of the cease-fire has failed to hold.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaders of other CSTO members discussed the situation on September 13, urging a quick cessation of hostilities. They agreed to send a mission of top officials from the security alliance to the area.

The first group of members of the CSTO mission will arrive in Armenia on September 15, said Vladimir Zaynetdinov, a spokesman for the organization.

Putin is set to hold a meeting on September 16 with Aliyev in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, where they both plan to attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security grouping dominated by Russia and China.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, dpa, and AFP

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RFERLs Kazakh Service