The Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict reignited this week with more than 150 soldiers killed on both sides since Monday.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said more than one hundred Armenian soldiers have been killed in border clashes while Azerbaijan says fifty of its own troops have also been killed in the fighting. Both sides blame the other.
It is the latest in a series of long-running conflicts fought between the two former Soviet republics over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Armenia and Azerbaijan blame each other
Russia and the US have each called for peace between the two countries.
Speaking to his country’s parliament, Pashinyan accused Azeri troops of occupying ten square kilometers (four square miles) of Armenian territory this week and said he had now turned to Russia for military assistance—a long-time ally of Armenia.
Azerbaijan denies the Armenian account of this week’s events, including reports that it fired upon vehicles belonging to Russia’s FSB security services stationed inside Armenia.
Instead, Azerbaijan claims its neighbor started the conflict by shelling military targets within its own district of Kalbacar.
“Our units are taking the necessary response measures,” Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said, according to Reuters.
The fighting is the deadliest to break out between the two neighbors in two years.
International leaders are intensifying diplomatic efforts to prevent it from escalating into an even deadlier war, as has happened with previous skirmishes in the past.
Greece calls for de-escalation, Turkey sides with Azerbaijan
Greece, a traditional friend of Armenia, has called for an immediate de-escalation of the conflict.
“We express our deep concern over the recent hostilities at the Armenian-Azeri border, which resulted in the death of several people,” a statement by the Foreign Ministry reads. “We call for an immediate de-escalation and reiterate Greece’s position that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states should be upheld.”
Many Greek social media users condemned what they describe as the “sitting on the fence” approach by Athens.
They point out that the press release by the Foreign Ministry has failed to express explicit support for the Armenian people with whom Greeks have had very close, historical ties over many centuries.
Congressman Gus Bilirakis called on the US to cut Azerbaijan off from American aid.
Armenia’s recent violations of the 2020 peace deal resulting in new border tensions with Azerbaijan are “unacceptable,” the Turkish President said Wednesday, reiterating Ankara’s support for Azerbaijan.
Speaking in Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Armenia to step back and warned that Yerevan will “face the consequences for its aggressive attitude.”