Azerbaijan launches major attack on Armenia

Armenia’s Defense Ministry said its forces have suffered casualties in the fighting that began Tuesday morning shortly after 12 a.m., when Azerbaijani forces began shelling villages and towns in Armenia’s southeast. Armenian authorities said major towns, including Vardenis, Jermuk, Goris, and Kapan are among those under attack.

Starting just after midnight last night, Azerbaijan launched a major attack against Armenia and began shelling the southern Armenian towns and villages of Goris, Jermuk, Kapan, Vardenis and Sotk, using high-caliber firearms, artillery and drones.

By 3am, defense ministry spokesperson Aram Torosyan said Azerbaijan had been preparing for an attack over the past few days, as evidenced by the spread of misinformation on a daily basis. Torosyan added that the Armenian side has suffered casualties, but did not provide exact figures.

As of 8am, the situation remained unchanged according to the Armenian Defense Ministry, with Azerbaijan continuing to use artillery, mortars and drones in the direction of numerous Armenian towns and villages including Vardenis, Sotk, Artanish, Ishkhanasar, Goris and Kapan, targeting both military and civilian targets, in an attempt to advance their positions.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held telephone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and French President Emmanuel Macron.

During his conversation with Putin, Pashinyan announced that in connection with the ongoing attacks, Armenia will invoke a treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with Russia, as well as apply to the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization military alliance and to the United Nations Security Council for assistance.

Meanwhile, Blinken expressed deep concern regarding the situation and expressed readiness to undertakeefforts to stabilize the situation.

The US State Department also updated its Armenia travel advisory on Monday, warning its citizens not to travel to Nagorno Karabakh and surrounding territories “due to recent hostilities.”

In a statement referring to today’s escalation on Armenia’s eastern border, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry denied the attack and emphasized the presence of the Armenian Defense Army in Artsakh (Karabakh).

“The presence of personnel and equipment of the Armenian armed forces in Karabakh, which is an economic zone of Azerbaijan, continues to this day. The Azerbaijani army, in response to the provocation of Armenia, implements local countermeasures and neutralizes the firing points,” the statement read.

As fighting continued to intensify along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, Armenian authorities reported that Azerbaijani units were attempting to advance positions. Meanwhile, Artsakh authorities reported that the Line of Contact between Armenia and Azerbaijan remains quiet.

The 44-day Karabakh War changed the situation on the ground not only in Artsakh, but also on the entire border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This is especially true in Armenia’s southernmost Syunik Province, which since the war has a new border with Azerbaijan.

While before the war, there was roughly 120 kilometers between Armenia and Azerbaijan, today, the Azerbaijani city of Zangelan is only 10-12 kilometers away from southeastern villages.

With Azerbaijan so close, residents in the region are facing increasing security challenges on the border and on the roads.