Fighting continues on Armenia-Azerbaijan border
On the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan, armed clashes with human victims including civilians continue for the fourth day.
Baku and Yerevan, which have been in conflict since 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijani SSR, blame each other for a new outbreak of violence that is gaining momentum despite calls for de-escalation from the West and from the Kremlin.
TASS reports, citing Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, three border villages - Agdam, Alibeyli and Dondar Gushchu of the Tovuz district were shelled by the Armenian Armed Forces.
As a result, five soldiers, a major-general and a colonel, as well as one civilian were killed, Deputy Defense Minister of Azerbaijan Kerim Veliyev said. "The enemy positions were hit with crushing blows, which destroyed up to a hundred manpower and a large amount of military equipment," he added.
The Armenian Defense Ministry reported two soldiers killed.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry reported "targeted shelling of (Azerbaijan's armed forces) of civilian infrastructure and civilians." Civilian installations in the city of Berd in Tavush oblast came under fire, department spokeswoman Anna Nagdalyan said, adding that the strikes would be followed by a "proportionate response."
She added that the Armenian army managed to destroy the enemy base from where the shelling was carried out.
The day before, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that four Azerbaijani soldiers were killed and five were wounded. The Armenian Defense Ministry said three Armenian soldiers and two policemen were injured.
Fighting continued at night 300 kilometers from Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous enclave inhabited mainly by Armenians, which Azerbaijan lost control of during the bloody war of 1992-94.
Armenia's ambassador to Moscow, Vardan Toganyan, said Yerevan was counting on Russia's help in resolving the conflict, as the situation on the border was developing "not in a very good way."
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow was "deeply concerned about the clashes on the Armenian-Azerbaijan border" and called on both sides "to restraint and respect their obligations under the ceasefire." Russia is "ready to mediate efforts to resolve the settlement of the conflict, being the co-chair of the Minsk Group," Peskov said.