The fighting initiated on Tuesday 19 September in Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan, three years after a war that led to a military rout of Armenia, has already left 29 dead and raises the concern of the international community.
The resumption of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan was invited on Tuesday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the France calling for an "emergency" meeting of the Security Council to take note of an "illegal" and "unjustifiable" offensive carried out by Baku in Nagorno-Karabakh. This meeting could take place "in the coming days", two diplomatic sources told AFP, referring to Thursday.
Russia called on Wednesday morning to "immediately cease bloodshed, end hostilities and stop civilian casualties," in a Foreign Ministry statement.
On Tuesday evening, the Azerbaijani presidency called on the troops of Nagorno-Karabakh - a breakaway territory of Azerbaijan mainly populated by Armenians - to lay down their arms, a sine qua non condition for the start of negotiations. "The illegal Armenian armed forces must raise the white flag, surrender all weapons and the illegal regime must dissolve. Otherwise, counter-terrorism operations will continue to the end," she said.
The presidency proposed, in case of capitulation, talks "with representatives of the Armenian population of Karabakh in Yevlakh", an Azerbaijani city 295 km west of Baku. Prior to that, the authorities in the region had called for an immediate ceasefire and negotiations.
At least 29 dead
Since Tuesday, fighting has left at least 29 people dead. Separatists reported 27 deaths, including two civilians, and more than 200 wounded, while about 7,000 residents of 16 localities were evacuated.
Azerbaijan reported that two civilians had died in areas under its control. In the town of Choucha, a construction worker died as a result of shrapnel, and another civilian died in Agdam district.
Separatists say several towns in Nagorno-Karabakh, including its capital Stepanakert, are under "heavy fire", which also targets civilian infrastructure. The clashes are taking place "on the entire line of contact" of this territory and the Azerbaijanis are resorting to "artillery", rockets, attack drones, aircraft, they said. Sixty Armenian positions were conquered there, Baku announced in the evening.
See alsoArmenia-Azerbaijan: Armenians join paramilitary groups
As for Armenia, which denounced a "large-scale aggression" for the purpose of "ethnic cleansing", it assured that it had no troops in Nagorno-Karabakh, suggesting that the separatists were alone against the Azerbaijani soldiers.
Armenia considers that it is up to Russia, guarantor of a ceasefire dating from 2020 with peace forces on the ground, to act to "stop Azerbaijani aggression". The 2020 conflict led to a military rout of Armenia, which had to cede ground to Azerbaijan in and around Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced Tuesday morning the launch of "anti-terrorist operations" after six Azerbaijanis were killed in the explosion of mines at the site of a tunnel under construction between Shusha and Fizuli, two cities in Nagorno-Karabakh under Azerbaijani control. It was a group of separatist "saboteurs" who planted these explosive devices, according to its security services.
"The failure of the international community to act is at the origin of the Azerbaijani offensive," the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh denounced.
" READ ALSO In Nagorno-Karabakh, the threat of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis
Tensions have been escalating for months around this territory, which has already been at the heart of two wars between Yerevan and Baku. The first lasted from 1988 to 1994, the autumn of 2020 ended after six weeks.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused the Azerbaijanis of wanting to "drag Armenia into hostilities." Nikol Pashinyan, whom the opposition accuses of having been responsible for the defeat three years ago, at the same time denounced calls for a "coup d'état" in his country, where clashes opposed demonstrators calling him a "traitor" and demanding his resignation from the police in front of the government headquarters.
On Tuesday, Russia said it was "concerned" by the "brutal escalation" of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, and announced that it was trying to bring Yerevan and Baku back "to the negotiating table" to "avoid human losses", through the voice of the spokesman of the presidency, Dmitry Peskov.
As for Turkey, which described as "legitimate" the concerns that led the Azerbaijanis to engage in military action, it also urged the "continuation of the process of negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia".
Nikol Pashinyan, who did not report discussions with Vladimir Putin, had two telephone conversations with Emmanuel Macron and Antony Blinken.
The summary of the weekFrance 24 invites you to look back on the news that marked the week
Take international news with you everywhere! Download the France 24 app