Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan on Sunday of bomb civilian targets in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh, in Azerbaijan, close to the border between the 2 countries.
On Twitter, Pashinyan said that Armenia shot down 2 helicopters, 3 unmanned aerial vehicles and destroyed 3 tanks. In a statement, the Armenian Foreign Ministry condemned the aggression, declared that the country will act with “all its capacity to guarantee the safety of the Artsakh population” and that it will provide an appropriate military and political response.
On the other side, Hikmet Hajiyev, assistant to Azerbaijani President Ilham Heydar, blamed the Armenians for the border bombings, classifying them as a “act of war“and said that there are reports of dead and injured.
The Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense also spoke and reported that a helicopter was, in fact, shot down, but that the crew survived, and that 12 Armenian air defense vehicles were destroyed.
Spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin went to social media to condemn what he called an “Armenian attack on Azerbaijan”.
“Armenia, once again, violated international law and showed that it has no interest in peace and stability. Turkey sympathizes with Azerbaijan and fully supports its right to defend itself,” Kalin wrote.
Flags of Azerbaijan and Armenia, side by side, during a meeting between representatives of the two countries in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 2017 – Photo: Denis Balibouse / Archive / Reuters
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been experiencing tensions over ethnic and territorial disputes since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. They have been fighting for control of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian majority enclave in Azerbaijan.
Nagorno-Karabakh unilaterally proclaimed its independence in 1991, with Armenian support, starting a war with Azerbaijan that killed about 30,000 people until a ceasefire in 1994.
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Map – Photo: Alexandre Mauro / G1