Azerbaijan Intensifies Nagorno-Karabakh Offensive

Azerbaijan has ramped up military operations in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, insisting that ethnic Armenians must surrender for the onslaught to cease. The international community has recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory, but tensions surrounding the enclave have been brewing for months.

Azerbaijan’s defense ministry stated it “neutralized” Armenian military assets, including vehicles, artillery, and anti-aircraft installations. The Nagorno-Karabakh authorities reported 27 casualties, including two civilians, with more injured.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region dates back to the early 1990s after the Soviet Union’s dissolution. Another war erupted in 2020, with Azerbaijan reclaiming areas surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh. However, a truce was later established under Russian peacekeepers’ surveillance.

Ethnic Armenians have called for a ceasefire and dialogue, but Azerbaijan’s goal appears to be the enclave’s complete takeover. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan of launching an “ethnic cleansing” ground campaign. This situation provoked clashes between Armenian protestors and police in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital.

Global leaders, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia’s foreign ministry, have urged Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, to halt military activities immediately. Azerbaijan has proposed initiating talks in Yevlakh, located 100km north of the regional capital, Khankendi.

Since 2020, Russia has overseen the fragile truce with 2,000 peacekeepers. However, its focus has shifted due to its invasion of Ukraine. The situation in the region remains volatile, with international calls for a ceasefire and diplomatic resolution intensifying.

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