The two sides accused each other of starting the clashes, which erupted on Tuesday and ended in international mediation overnight on Thursday. Neighboring Caucasus countries have fought twice -- in 2020 and in the 1990s -- over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, Azerbaijan's populated enclave.
Analysts say the latest escalation this week has largely cancelled recent EU efforts to bring Baku and Yerevan closer to a peace deal. "For now, the death toll is 135," Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in a cabinet meeting on Friday, quoted from the New Nation, Saturday (17/9/2022).
"Unfortunately, it's not the last number. There are also many injured." Azerbaijan has reported 71 deaths among its troops. It was the worst battle since the two countries fought a six-week war in 2020 and came with Armenia's closest ally, Moscow, plagued by a nearly seven-month war in Ukraine.
Armenia's security council said the violence ended on Thursday night "thanks to international mediation" after an unsuccessful previous attempt by Moscow to broker a ceasefire. The clashes also forced hundreds of Armenian civilians to flee their homes, the Armenian rights ombudsman said.
A delegation of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) -- a Moscow-led grouping of ex-Soviet republics -- arrived in Yerevan on Thursday evening, Armenia's defense ministry said. Armenia is a member of the CSTO but Azerbaijan is not.
Ask Russia for Help
On Tuesday, the Armenian security council requested military assistance from Moscow, which is obliged under the agreement to defend Armenia in the event of a foreign invasion.
With Moscow increasingly isolated on the world stage following the February invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has taken a leading role in mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijani normalization process.
During EU-mediated talks in Brussels in May and April, Azerbaijani Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Pashinyan agreed to "advance discussions" on future peace agreements. They last met in Brussels on August 31, for talks mediated by European Council President Charles Michel.
Talks also focused on border restrictions and the reopening of transport networks. The issue of ensuring land transport links between Turkey-speaking Azerbaijan and its ally Ankara through Armenian territory has emerged as a major sticky point.
Azerbaijan insists Yerevan abandons its jurisdiction over the land corridor that is supposed to cross Armenia's border with Iran -- a demand the Armenian government denies as an insult to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Total Death Toll Reaches Thousands
Six weeks of fighting in 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 soldiers from both sides and ended in a Russian-brokered ceasefire.
Under the deal, Armenia ceded most of the territory it had controlled for decades, and Moscow deployed about 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee a fragile ceasefire.
Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The ensuing conflict claimed about 30,000 lives.
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