A decades-old conflict may be on the verge of reigniting, as reports emerged this week of attacks along the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The Armenian Defense Ministry claimed Azerbaijan Armed Forces conducted artillery strikes toward Armenian border towns Tuesday morning. According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, the strike included drones and large-caliber firearms fired in the direction of Goris, Sotk, and Jermuk.
The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense responded with a statement acknowledging the strikes, but said the strikes are “small-scale” and “aim to ensure the security of Azerbaijan’s borders.”
On Monday, Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense accused Armenian forces of firing in small arms in the directions of the Novoivanovka settlement of Gadabay region and Husulu settlement of Lachin region near the border of the two countries. Armenia denied the allegations.
Last month, the two countries clashed over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, a landlocked area between Eastern Europe and Western Asia that is populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians but located in Azerbaijani territory.
The unrest in the region is decades old, dating back to the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the region, backed by Armenia, declared independence from Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has long claimed it will retake the territory, which is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani.
Russia, an Armenian security ally, maintains a peacekeeping force in the region after brokering a ceasefire agreement in early November 2020, ending an almost two-month conflict that killed at least 6,500 people, according to Reuters.
On Monday evening, the US issued a call for the “immediate cessation of hostilities,” according to a statement from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s office.
“The United States is deeply concerned about reports of attacks along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, including reported strikes against settlements and civilian infrastructure inside Armenia,” Blinken said. “As we have long made clear, there can be no military solution to the conflict. We urge an end to any military hostilities immediately.”