Armenia on Sunday declared martial law and mobilized its military after clashes with Azerbaijan over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Nikol Pashinyan, Armenia’s prime minister, wrote on Twitter: “At the decision of the Government, martial law and general mobilization is being declared in the Republic of #Armenia. I call on the personnel attached to the troops to present themselves to their district commissariats. For the fatherland, for victory.”
Armenia said that Azerbaijan had carried out an air and artillery attack on Nagorno-Karabakh. Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said Azerbaijan had “launched aggression … targeting civilian population, shelling [the city of] Stepanakert and surrounding areas.”
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said Armenian troops “fired on our settlements, as well as our military positions,” the state news agency reported. He added that the Azerbaijani army “is currently firing on the enemy’s military positions, and as a result of these strikes, many units of the enemy’s military equipment have been destroyed.”
Both sides reported casualties.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on social media that Turkey “stands by its Azerbaijani brothers with all its means” and called Armenia “the biggest threat to peace and tranquillity in the region.” Russia’s Foreign Ministry called for an immediate ceasefire, the BBC reported.
European Council President Charles Michel said on Twitter that the reports of violence “are of most serious concern. Military action must stop, as a matter of urgency, to prevent a further escalation. An immediate return to negotiations, without preconditions, is the only way forward.” The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said in a statement that the bloc “calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, de-escalation and for strict observance of the ceasefire.”
Armenia and Azerbaijan have long clashed over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly ethnic Armenian territory that is officially part of Azerbaijan. The two countries fought a six-year war over the region until a ceasefire in 1994.