Armenia says Azerbaijan attacked settlements in disputed region

Armenia says Azerbaijan attacked settlements in disputed region
Armenia says Azerbaijan attacked settlements in disputed region

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Azerbaijan had attacked civilian settlements in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, Nikol Pashinyan, the prime minister of neighbouring Armenia, said early on Sunday.

Armenia's Defence Ministry said that its troops had downed two Azerbaijani helicopters and three drones in response to the attack.

Separatist forces in Nagorny Karabakh said they had shot down the two Azerbaijani helicopters after Baku began bombing the enclave.

Karabakh's presidency said Azerbaijan started "active bombing" along the frontlines and of civilian targets, including in the region's main city Stepanakert.

Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry confirmed a helicopter and 12 OSA air defence systems were destroyed during a strike in Nagorno-Karabakh but alleged that hostilities were started by Armenia and added that counter strike operations were ongoing.

The two former Soviet countries have long been in conflict over Azerbaijan's breakaway, mainly ethnic-Armenian region of Nagorno-Karabakh, and border clashes have intensified in recent months.

More than a dozen Armenian and Azeri soldiers were killed in July at the border between the two, which have long been at odds over Nagorno-Karabakh. Russia has called the conflict is a highly sensitive matter.

Hikmet Hajiyev, a senior adviser to Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, said last month that Russia has been "intensively arming Armenia" right after the July conflict, with Russian Il-76 strategic airlifters flying towards Armenia after July 17.

Russia told Azerbaijan that those Il-76 planes were carrying building materials, Mr Hajiyev said, adding that Baku was not satisfied with this answer.

Russia has a military base in Armenia and considers it to be a strategic partner in the South Caucasus region and supplies it with weapons.

"Construction materials are usually not supplied in aeroplanes, there are other tools for that," Mr Hajiyev said.

Updated: September 27, 2020 10:19 AM

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