Armenian forces shell second city of Ganja, says Azerbaijan amid escalation of week-long conflict

Armenian forces shell second city of Ganja, says Azerbaijan amid escalation of week-long conflict

BAKU: Azerbaijan mentioned on Sunday that the Armenian forces had shelled its second metropolis of Ganja in an escalation of the battle within the South Caucasus that broke out one week in the past.

Armenia denied that it had directed hearth “of any kind” in direction of Azerbaijan, however the chief of Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan, mentioned his forces had destroyed a army airbase in Ganja.

The escalation carries the danger of a full-scale battle between the previous Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia that would drag in different powers. Azerbaijan is supported by Turkey, whereas Armenia has a defence pact with Russia.

Fighting that broke out one week in the past between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces has intensified prior to now two days and unfold approach past the breakaway Karabakh area.

“Delivering fire on the territory of Azerbaijan from the territory of Armenia is clearly provocative and expands the zone of hostilities,” Azeri Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov mentioned.

Ganja, with a inhabitants of 335,000, is about 100 km (60 miles) north of the Karabakh capital Stepanakert and 80 km from the Armenian metropolis of Vardenis.

Azerbaijan has beforehand accused Armenia of firing into its territory from Vardenis, and Yerevan has denied it.

Armenia says Azerbaijan has used the airport in Ganja as a base for its warplanes to hold out bombing raids on Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nagorno-Karabakh chief Arayik Harutyunyan mentioned his forces would goal Azeri cities.

“Permanent military units located in the large cities of Azerbaijan from now on become the targets of the defence army,” he mentioned.

Casualties from the previous week`s preventing have run into the tons of, though exact figures are not possible to acquire.

Armenia mentioned the Karabakh cities of Stepanakert and Martakert had been below assault by Azerbaijan`s air pressure and from long-range missiles.

Each aspect accused the opposite of focusing on civilians.

Ignoring appeals from Russia, the United States, France and the EU to name a ceasefire, the opposing sides have stepped up hostilities over the weekend, with an accompanying rise in aggressive rhetoric.

Armenia mentioned on Saturday it could use “all necessary means” to guard ethnic Armenians from assault by Azerbaijan, and its prime minister in contrast the wrestle with a 20th-century battle towards Ottoman Turkey.

Azerbaijan mentioned on Saturday its forces had captured a string of villages. Armenia acknowledged that ethnic Armenian fighters had been below stress in some locations and mentioned the state of affairs on the bottom was fluctuating.

The clashes are the worst because the 1990s when some 30,000 folks had been killed. They have raised worldwide concern about stability within the South Caucasus, the place pipelines carry Azeri oil and gasoline to world markets.

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