It was a little after 10:30 p.m. when, on the night of Tuesday July 21 to Wednesday July 22, Chouchane Stepanian, the spokeswoman for the Armenian defense ministry, alerted of a new offensive by the Azerbaijani neighbor, again thrilling the international community. “The enemy’s special units launched a new attack towards the ‘fearless’ position. Armenian forces pushed back the enemy, causing heavy casualties. According to provisional information, the special forces of the enemy have, in addition to the wounded, soldiers trapped in the area “, she wrote on Facebook.
In the opposing camp, spokesman for Azerbaijani Defense Minister Vagif Dargahli called the statement “Fake news”. “There was no new attack, let alone injured, on our side”, he assured, recalling however that the border region which connects Tavush in northeastern Armenia and Tovuz in Azerbaijan remained “tense”.
A new skirmish in the endless war between the two former Soviet countries or a spark capable of setting fire to this powder keg in the Caucasus? Since mid-July and the escalation of tensions between the two countries, the point of no return threatens to be crossed every day.
It all starts on July 12. Taking international observers by surprise, fighting broke out in this area on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia, giving rise to an uncontrolled spiral for several days. The mortar fire responded to the shells reaching the villages of Aygepar and Movses. Result: at least 17 dead, including 12 soldiers and an Azerbaijani civilian and four Armenian soldiers. Baku notably mourns the death of a general shot down by a drone, as crowds take to the streets to demand revenge. Ilham Aliev, Azerbaijani president then replaced his defense minister manu militari, who was deemed too “passive”. Each side blames itself, accusing the other of initiating the fighting.
The war between the two countries is an old story. But it is usually concentrated in the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Province populated mostly by Armenians, attached to Azerbaijan in 1921 by Stalin, Nagorny-Karabakh has been the scene of ethnic clashes since the end of the 1980s. With the fall of the Soviet empire, this small piece of land mountainous region proclaims its independence, leading to regional armed conflict. A fragile ceasefire was signed in 1994 after a military debacle in the much better armed Azerbaijan – more than 30,000 dead on both sides – and the expulsion of the Azeris. In the case, Baku lost 13% of its territory.
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