Azerbaijan has launched an “anti-terrorist” military operation against Armenia’s forces.
The attack took place in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, with Baku’s government demanding the “complete withdrawal” of ethnic Armenian forces as a condition for peace.
Armenia’s foreign ministry has pleaded Russia to send its peacekeeping forces to intervene against the “full-scale aggression”.
The Nagorno-Karabakh separatist Human Rights Ombudsman said two people have already died, including one child.
Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnic Armenian enclave that is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani defense ministry demanded “the complete withdrawal of ethnic Armenian troops and the dissolution of the government in Stepanakert.”
“The only way to achieve peace and stability in the region is the unconditional and complete withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and the dissolution of the puppet regime,” it said in a statement.
“As part of local anti-terrorist measures carried out in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, regular long-term firing points and military installations of the Armenian armed forces were destroyed by precise strikes by units of the Azerbaijan Army.”
However, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said his army was not involved in the fighting.
“Azerbaijan has begun a ground operation aimed at ethnic cleansing of Karabakh Armenians,” Pashinyan said in a televised address.
“I declare that Armenia is not involved in armed actions and does not have an army in Karabakh,” he added.
“For the moment, the situation is stable along Armenia’s entire border [with Azerbaijan].”
The country’s foreign ministry added: “Armenia’s assistance to Nagorno-Karabakh is of a humanitarian nature, the need for which is further confirmed by the humanitarian crisis caused by the illegal blockade of the Lachin corridor.”
It comes nearly three years after a short, deadly war between the two countries in the mountainous region.
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