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More fighting erupts between Armenia, Azerbaijan

A still image from video released by the Armenian Defense Ministry purportedly shows Azerbaijani service members moving along an unidentified mountainous border area with Armenia, on September 13, 2022. (Via Reuters)

New clashes have erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenia, in a resumption of decades-old hostilities between Baku and Yerevan over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The fighting on Wednesday took place a day after nearly 100 soldiers were killed in the deadliest conflict between the two Caucasus neighbors since 2020.

Armenia's Defense Ministry accused Azerbaijan of firing artillery, mortar shells, and small arms in a new attack.

"The situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border remained tense," it said, stressing that Baku has launched attacks on its sovereign territory.

Azerbaijan also accused Armenia of firing mortars and artillery against its military units.

"Our positions are periodically being fired against at the moment," Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said. "Our units are taking the necessary response measures."

Fighting on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Tuesday left at least 49 Armenian and 50 Azerbaijani soldiers dead.

The conflict erupted at midnight, minutes after a ceasefire agreement between the two countries came into force.

Armenia accused Azerbaijan of firing in the direction of the southern Armenian towns of Goris, Kapan, and Jermuk with the help of drones.

However, Azerbaijan rejected the Armenian claim, saying its forces were carrying out counter-measures in retaliation for "large-scale Armenian provocation."

Tuesday's fighting was the most recent flare-up in tensions between the two estranged neighbors since thousands were killed in a 44-day war over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh that ended in November 2020.

The deadly conflict, which claimed over 65,000 lives on both sides, ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire, but tensions continued.

Last week, Armenia accused Azerbaijan of killing one of its soldiers in a border shootout.

In August, Azerbaijan said one of its soldiers had been killed while Armenia said two of its troops had been killed and more than a dozen injured in border clashes.

On Tuesday, Russia urged both parties "to refrain from further escalation and show restraint."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also called on Armenia and Azerbaijan "to take immediate steps to deescalate tensions, exercise maximum restraint and resolve any outstanding issues through dialogue" and implement previous agreements.

The UN Security Council scheduled closed-door consultations Wednesday on the renewed fighting.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been populated by ethnic Armenians.

Russia has deployed 1,960 peacekeepers to the region for an initial five-year period. Since the truce, the two sides have accused each other of breaching the peace deal amid sporadic fighting.

Since February 24, when Russia started a military offensive in Ukraine, the European Union has been functioning as the key mediator between the two sides. Armenian Prime Miister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev held a meeting late last month in Brussels to discuss ways to reach a peace agreement.

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