Over 200 Armenian soldiers killed in clashes with Azerbaijan


More than 200 Armenian soldiers were killed last week in the worst border clashes with Azerbaijan since a war in 2020, according to a new report announced Monday by the Armenian Security Council.

The toll is “207 (dead), including three civilians,” the Armenian Security Council said, adding that “two civilians are missing, 293 soldiers and three civilians are injured.”

Twenty soldiers were taken prisoner by the Azerbaijani army, according to the same source.

This brings the death toll on both sides to almost 300.

On the Azerbaijani side, the toll to date is 79 soldiers killed, according to Baku, since the start of the clashes which broke out last Tuesday.

This is an unprecedented escalation since 2020, threatening to torpedo a fragile peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan, two rival countries in the Caucasus which share nearly 1.000 kilometers of common border.

The heads of the Armenian and Azerbaijani diplomats met Monday in New York in the United States, on the initiative of the American Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Today I hosted direct talks between Armenian Foreign Minister @AraratMirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister @bayramov_jeyhun. As I conveyed during the meeting, it is time for troops to disengage and diplomats to return to the table. pic.twitter.com/Z6zCGjRm2u

- Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) September 20, 2022


“Today I arranged direct talks between Armenian Foreign Minister @AraratMirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister @bayramov_jeyhun. As I said during the meeting, it is time for the troops to disengage and the diplomats to return to the table,” he wrote on Twitter following the meeting.

On Sunday, visiting Yerevan, the speaker of the American House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, condemned the "illegal" attacks in Baku.

His trip to the Armenian capital marked a new sign of rapprochement between Washington and Yerevan, at a time when Moscow, traditional mediator in this region, has its hands busy with the difficulties of its military offensive in Ukraine.

Since 2020, Russia has been deploying a peacekeeping force on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. But this proved ineffective in preventing the military escalation of the past week.

These clashes are the most intense since a war between the two countries in 2020 for control of the Nagorny Karabakh enclave, which left more than 6.500 dead and led Yerevan to cede territory to Baku.

Before 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan had already clashed in the 1990s over Nagorno Karabakh, a conflict that left more than 30.000 dead.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

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