New Delhi (NVI): The forces of Armenian and Azerbaijan continued fighting for a second day over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, with both sides accusing each other of using heavy artillery.
According to the reports, at least 15 additional soldiers were killed in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, bringing the total death toll to over 30 as the fighting entered a second day.
The world leaders have urged a halt to the fighting between Azerbaijan and the Armenian rebels after clashes erupted yesterday.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also condemned the heavy fighting and expressed regrets for “the loss of life and the toll on the civilian population,” his spokesperson said in a statement.
Guterres called on all sides in the conflict “to immediately stop fighting, de-escalate tensions and return to meaningful negotiations without delay,” the statement said, adding that he will speak to the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia.
Guterres reiterated his full support for the role of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, a role he said was very important, and urged “the sides to work closely with them for an urgent resumption of dialogue without preconditions.”
Armenia and Azerbaijan declared martial law and troop mobilizations yesterday amid fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed, primarily ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.
“Get ready to defend our sacred homeland,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said as the clashes erupted.
Reportedly, about two dozen people, including civilians, were killed and over 100 wounded.
Armenia accused Azerbaijan of attacks on civilian settlements in the disputed region, as per reports in foreign media.
In addition, the Armenian defense ministry said, “Our response will be proportionate, and the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the situation.”
The ministry also said its troops shot down two Azerbaijan military helicopters and three drones after Baku’s forces began bombing the breakaway enclave, including its capital, Stepanakert.
On the other hand, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said Armenian forces were shelling the town of Terter.
The defense ministry said it had launched a military operation along the Line of Contact between the two countries, to suppress Armenia’s combat activity and ensure the safety of the population.
It also confirmed the downing of only one Azerbaijani helicopter and said its crew had survived.