BAKU / YEREVAN (Reuters) – Armenia and Azerbaijan on Tuesday accused each other of firing directly into each other’s territory and dismissed pressure on Nagorno-Karabakh’s enclave to hold peace talks as their conflict , Causing fears of mushroom warfare.
The two reported firing from their other side across their shared border, west of the Golmaal Nagorno-Karbakh region, over which fierce fighting took place between Azeri and the ethnic Armenian army on Sunday.
The events indicated further escalation of the conflict despite an urgent appeal from Russia, the United States and others to stop it.
The conflict has also re-expressed concerns about stability in the South Caucasus region, a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and gas to world markets.
Speaking to Russian state television, Azeri’s president, Ilham Aliyev, categorically rejected any possibility of dialogue. Armenian Prime Minister Nicholas Pashinian told the same channel that they could not take on fighting.
Nagorno-Karbakh is a separate region inside Azerbaijan but is run by ethnic Armenians and supported by Armenia. It broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s war but is not recognized by any country as an independent republic.
Dozens of people were killed and hundreds were injured on Sunday following clashes between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces, threatening to draw in neighbors, including Turkey, Azerbaijan’s close ally.
The 15-member UN Security Council on Tuesday expressed concern about the conflict following discussions about the bandh, condemned the use of force and called for an immediate halt to the fighting by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Further escalating tensions between the two former Soviet republics, Armenia, said a Turkish F-16 fighter jet had dropped one of its war planes over Armenian airspace, killing the pilot.
It provided no evidence of the incident. Turkey called the claim “absolutely untrue”, and Azerbaijan also denied it.
“The international community should condemn Azerbaijan and condemn Turkey’s actions and demand that Turkey be taken out of the region,” Pashinen told Russian state TV.
“Turkey’s military presence in the region … will bring further increase and expansion in the scale of the conflict.”
Azeri leader Aliyev accused Armenia of fabricating the plane crash. “Turkey is not a party to the conflict, does not participate in it in any way and there is no need for it,” he said.
Aliyev said that Azerbaijan was calling tens of thousands of reservoirs under a partial mobilization announced on Monday.
“We are able to punish the attacker himself so that he does not even dare to look in our direction,” he said.
In the All-Out War any dynasty could be threatened to pull into not only Turkey, but Russia. Moscow has a defense alliance with Armenia, but also has close ties with Azerbaijan.
The Kremlin said that President Vladimir Putin spoke to Pashinan over the phone for the second time since the onset of the crisis and said that all parties should take measures to de-escalate. It has not made any contact between Putin and Aliyev.
The Kremlin said that Moscow was in constant contact with Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Any talk of providing logistical support for the opposing parties only adds fuel to the fire, it said.
US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden tweeted: “With rapidly increasing casualties in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, the Trump administration must immediately call on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to avoid the situation There is a need. Like Turkey, it should also demand from others – stay out of this conflict. “
Pashinyan told the BBC in an interview that the Azeri army attacked the villages and towns within Nagorno-Karbakh and Armenia on Tuesday.
“There are casualties between the military and civilians. Dozens are killed and hundreds are injured.
Azerbaijan’s prosecutor’s office said 12 Azeri civilians had been killed so far and 35 were injured by Armenian fire. The Azeri side has not disclosed military casualties.
Nagorno-Karbakh has reported at least 84 soldiers killed.
“What can I say? It’s a war. We hear air strikes several times a day and hide in bomb shelters,” Albert Voskanyan, a resident of Stepanakar, the capital of the enclave, told Reuters.
Armenian authorities previously said that a civilian was killed in an Azeri attack in the Armenian city of Vorden, more than 20 km (12 mi) from Nagorno-Karabakh. He said a bus caught fire in the town after the Azeri drone struck.
Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense said that Armenian forces from Vorden had fired in the Dashakesan region inside Azerbaijan. Armenia denied those reports.
Additional reporting by Margherita Antidez in Tbilisi, Riehm Alkosa in Berlin, Gabriel Terrettault-Farber in Moscow and Isk Tokesbay in Ankara; Writing by Mark Trevelyan and Tom Balmforth; Editing by Mark Heinrich and David Gregorio