Armenia said on Wednesday that three of its soldiers had been killed in an exchange of gunfire with Azerbaijan. The Interfax news agency later reported that both sides had later accepted a Russian cease-fire proposal to try to calm tensions. The incident was one of the deadliest since a six-week war between ethnic Armenian forces and Baku over the Nagorno-Karabakh region and surrounding areas ended last year.
Joe Biden has become the first US president to issue a statement formally describing the 1915 massacre of Armenians as a genocide. The killings took place in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire. But the issue is highly sensitive, with Turkey acknowledging atrocities but rejecting the term “genocide”. Previous US administrations have not used the term genocide in formal statements amid concerns over damaging relations with Turkey, a Nato ally.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan warned of an attempted military coup against him on Thursday, and thousands took to the streets of the capital to support him after the army demanded he and his government resign. Pashinyan, 45, has faced calls to quit since November after what critics said was his disastrous handling of a six-week conflict between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces.
Opposition demonstrators have blocked the streets of Armenia’s capital to mark the start of a protest campaign after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan ignored their call to step down over a ceasefire deal struck with Azerbaijan. Pashinyan, who swept to power in a peaceful revolution in May 2018, accepted a Russian-brokered ceasefire deal last month to end a bloody conflict between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh region and surrounding areas.
A Russian-brokered humanitarian ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh was under severe strain on Sunday a day after it was agreed, with Azerbaijan and Armenia accusing each other of serious violations and crimes against civilians. The ceasefire, clinched after marathon talks in Moscow advocated by President Vladimir Putin, was meant to halt fighting to allow ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azeri forces to swap prisoners and war dead.
About 600 people are now reported to have died in clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The contested territory’s military said 16 more of its service people were killed in fighting on Tuesday – bringing the total number of those killed to 532 since fighting started on 27 September. Azerbaijan is yet to disclose its military fatalities – but authorities reported that 42 civilians had been killed.
Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh has escalated dramatically after Baku accused Armenian forces of firing rockets at Ganja, which lies outside the contested territory. At least one civilian was killed and four more injured in the attack on Sunday on Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second largest city, 100km (60 miles) north of the Karabakh capital, Stepanakert.
Russian peacekeeping troops deployed to the mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday as part of a ceasefire deal to end six weeks of heavy fighting between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces. Under the deal, Azerbaijan will keep territorial gains made in the fighting, including the enclave’s second city of Shusha. Ethnic Armenian forces must give up control of a slew of other territories between now and Dec. 1.
Armenia declared martial law and mobilized its male population on Sunday after clashes with Azerbaijan over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region in which sources on both sides reported fatalities. Authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly ethnic Armenian region inside Azerbaijan which declared independence in 1991, also announced martial law and mobilized the male population after clashes which the two sides blamed on each other.
Azerbaijan has said it has recaptured the symbolic town of Shusha, a claim denied by Armenian officials as fighting in the bloody six-week-old battle over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory appeared to reach an apex. As many as 5,000 people have died since Azerbaijan launched an offensive in late September to reclaim Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountain enclave, internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory but under the de facto control of Armenians since a ceasefire was agreed between the two former Soviet neighbors in 1994.