The deadly clashes on Azerbaijan-Armenia border continue

Border clashes erupted again early on Thursday between arch-foes Azerbaijan and Armenia, following a pause in fighting after the deadly Tuesday, when seven Azeri soldiers and a civilian and four Armenian servicemen were  killed. The clashes that broke out last Sunday have raised fears of a major flare-up in the strategic Caucasus region and prompted calls for an immediate de-escalation from the US, the EU and regional power broker Russia.

Armenia and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet republics, have long been in conflict over Azerbaijan’s breakaway, mainly ethnic Armenian region of Nagorno-Karabakh. But the latest clashes occurred around the Tavush region in northeast Armenia, some 300 km from the enclave. The international community worries about clashes in part because of the threat to instability in the South Caucasus, a region that serves as a corridor for pipelines taking oil and gas to world markets.

Russia urged the two sides to cease fire and show restraint, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Moscow was ready to act as a mediator.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara would stand against any attack on Azerbaijan, with which it has strong historical and cultural ties and is involved in joint energy projects. “It is our binding duty to mobilise all our political, diplomatic, social relations in our region and our world in this direction,” he told a news conference.

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