Clashes erupt along Armenia-Azerbaijan border, potentially reigniting an old conflict

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The Armenian Defense Ministry claimed that the Azerbaijan Armed Forces launched artillery strikes towards Armenian border towns on Tuesday morning. According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, the strike involved drones and large-caliber firearms fired in the direction of Goris, Sotak and Jermuk.

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The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry responded with a statement acknowledging the attacks, but said the attacks were “small-scale” and aimed “to ensure the security of Azerbaijan’s borders.”

On Monday, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry accused Armenian forces of firing small arms in the direction of the Novoivanovka settlement in the Gadbe region and the Husulu settlement in the Lachin region near the border between the two countries. Armenia denied the allegations.

Last month, the two countries clashed over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, a landlocked region between Eastern Europe and Western Asia populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians but located in Azerbaijani territory.

The unrest in the region dates back decades, from the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the region backed by Armenia declared independence from Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has long claimed that it will retake the territory, which is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani.

Russia, an Armenian security ally, maintains a peacekeeping force in the region after mediating a ceasefire agreement in early November 2020, ending nearly two months of conflict that killed at least 6,500 people, according to Reuters.

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On Monday evening, the US called for an “immediate cessation of hostilities”, according to a statement from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s office.

“The United States is deeply concerned about reports of attacks on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, including alleged attacks against settlements and civilian infrastructure inside Armenia,” Blinken said. “As we have long made clear, there can be no military solution to the conflict. We urge an immediate end to any military hostilities.”

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