Heavy battle has broken out between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Both nations’ defense ministries report clashes at various locations. Armenia claims that its territory is under attack and that Goris, Sotk, and Jermuk in the east are the targets of heavy shelling at the moment.
Update (2305ET): Fighting broke out overnight in several locations along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, and it was so serious that Yerevan requested assistance from its mighty ally Russia. This information was made public several hours after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia spoke on the phone late at night with President Vladimir Putin. According to a statement (machine translation), the Armenian administration has since confirmed that it has asked Russian military assistance to fend off Azerbaijani aggression and shelling:
Armenia bases its request on its agreement with Russia under the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which allowed Russia to send peacekeeping troops to Nagorno-Karabakh following the Fall 2020 conflict.
Regarding the extremely significant request at a time when the Ukraine war is intensifying, independent geopolitical analyst and Russia watcher Clint Ehrlich states: “If Russia accepts, we could see a second NATO-Russia proxy war explode.”
The Kremlin said through TASS about Putin’s phone call earlier in the night:
It should be noted, though, that during the most recent significant outbreak of hostilities between the two long-standing foes who share a volatile border, Moscow took care not to become overly involved, only agreeing to assist in brokering a ceasefire and sending several hundred Russian peacekeepers to monitor the terms of the agreement.
If Moscow does become involved, the West may view this as a chance to “weaken” Russian forces on a different front.
Meanwhile, some US Congressional leaders have come out in support of Armenia, citing unprovoked Azerbaijani aggression.
Just after midnight local time, fierce fighting along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan broke out. Both nations’ defense ministries report clashes at various locations. Armenia claims that its territory is under attack and that Goris, Sotk, and Jermuk in the east are the targets of heavy shelling at the moment.
Pressingly, there have been reports of shelling in Armenia proper as well as gunfire exchanges far outside of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. One local correspondent reports that “Azerbaijani Armed Forces have launched military offensive against Armenian positions in Armenia proper.”
It seems that the conflict has already lasted two hours, implying that this could be the start of a larger full-scale war, as tensions have been simmering since the last war for Nagorno-Karabakh in September through November 2020.
The Armenian Defense Ministry’s spokesperson, Arman Torosyan, confirmed that “intense skirmishes are continuing following Azerbaijan’s large-scale provocation along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border.” Both parties are now accusing the other of being aggressive and provocative.
According to the Jerusalem Post, “large clashes broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan forces along the border between the two countries on Monday night, according to Azerbaijani and Armenian Defense Ministries.”
“Azerbaijani artillery and UAVs reportedly targeted sites in Vardenis, Goris, Sotk and Jermuk in eastern Armenia.”
Here is the complete statement from the Azerbaijani defense ministry:
In response to Azerbaijan’s allegations of a “sabotage” operation that allegedly triggered the renewed hostilities, Armenia’s military issued the following official statement:
The fact that several hundred Russian peacekeeping troops are still stationed in the tense Nagorno-Karabakh border region as part of the settlement from the most recent round of fighting there complicates matters.
This peacekeeping mission is now in jeopardy, and Russia’s main base on Armenian territory is on “high alert.”