Air raid sirens blare in Stepanakert as Azerbaijan launches ‘anti-terrorist activities’

Air raid sirens blared in Stepanakert Tuesday afternoon after Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry announced it was launching “local anti-terrorist activities” in Nagorno-Karabakh.

“Azerbaijan has launched a large-scale military offensive against the Republic of Artsakh. At this moment, the capital of Stepanakert and other cities and villages are under artillery fire,” the Nagorno-Karabakh government said. Shelling began around 1 p.m., according to the Artsakh Defense Army.

“I was sitting in my house near the balcony, and suddenly I heard the first explosion very close by, and then that continued. There has been artillery fire for 40 minutes already, and five minutes ago, there was a chain of explosions. I’m assuming it was a Grad (multiple rocket launcher system). From my window, I can see from houses in the nearby gorge, and there is smoke coming from there,” Stepanakert-based freelance journalist Marut Vanyan told CivilNet by phone.

Vanyan added: “Children and women fled to the cellars and basements crying, and the fighting is not stopping, I can hear all kinds of weapon sounds from all sides. I also heard the sound of drones flying above about 10 minutes ago.”

Earlier in the day, Azerbaijan reported at least two civilians and four government workers were killed by land mines in two separate explosions in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry cited those deaths in a statement announcing the beginning of its “anti-terrorist activities.”

As of 2 p.m., the Armenia-Azerbaijan border remained calm, according to Armenia’s Defense Ministry.

The spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry told reporters Moscow is “deeply alarmed by the sharp escalation of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh” and called for an immediate end to hostilities.

“Moscow is now in contact with the Azerbaijani side,” Maria Zakharova added. Russia is the only outside power with boots on the ground in Nagorno-Karabakh.

More updates to come.

Earlier in the day, Azerbaijan reported at least two civilians and four government workers were killed by land mines in two separate explosions in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry cited those deaths in a statement announcing the beginning of its “anti-terrorist activities.”

The Armenia-Azerbaijan border remains calm, Armenia’s Defense Ministry said.

More updates to come.

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