Martial Law, Total Mobilization in Armenia After Clashes with Azerbaijan

Armenia declared martial law and total military mobilization after clashes with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Sunday.    “Get ready to defend our sacred homeland,” Pashinyan said on Facebook. Armenia and Azerbaijan reported heavy fighting around the Nagorno-Karabakh Sunday morning. The enclave has a majority Armenian population but is located entirely inside Azerbaijan.    Armenia accused neighboring Azerbaijan of attacks on civilian settlements in the disputed region.     “Our response will be proportionate, and the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the situation,” the Armenian Defense Ministry said in a statement.      The ministry also said its troops shot down two Azerbaijani military helicopters and three drones after Baku’s forces began bombing the breakaway enclave, including its capital, Stepanakert.       However, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said it had launched a military operation along the “contact line,” between the two countries, “to suppress Armenia’s combat activity and ensure the safety of the population.”      The ministry confirmed the downing of only one Azerbaijani helicopter and said its crew had survived.    The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, Stephane Visconti of France, and Andrew Schofer of the United States of America) expressed their deep concern about the “large scale military actions along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone”, in a joint statement Sunday. “We strongly condemn the use of force and regret the senseless loss of life, including civilians,” the co-chairs said. They appealed “to the sides to cease hostilities immediately and to resume negotiations to find a sustainable resolution of the conflict.” They are calling on the parties in conflict to take “necessary measures to stabilize the situation on the ground,” adding that there is no alternative to a peaceful negotiated solution of the conflict.”   Peace efforts in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, mediated by the “Minsk Group,” collapsed in 2010.     Armenian separatists seized Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan in a bloody war in the 1990s that killed 30,000 people.      Talks to resolve the conflict have been halted since a 1994 cease-fire agreement among Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Nagorno-Karabakh.          

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