Intense fighting has erupted on the border between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, with heavy casualties reported on both sides and the OSCE expressing its “grave concern” at developments. Azerbaijani forces launched a major offensive, involving tanks, heavy artillery, and helicopter gunships, but were repelled by join Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia forces.

The Azerbaijani military on Saturday acknowledged that it went on offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh and said 12 of its soldiers died and an Azerbaijani attack helicopter was shot down by the Armenians as a result.

The armed forces of Armenia and Karabakh earlier in the day stated the Azerbaijani attacks were unprovoked and ended in failure. The Karabakh Defense Army claimed to have destroyed three tanks shot down two Azerbaijani helicopter gunships in the heavy fighting.

President Serzh Sarkisian said Azerbaijani troops had killed 18 ethnic Armenian soldiers. “From our side, 18 soldiers were killed and some 35 others wounded,” Sarkisian said at a meeting of the National Security Council in Yerevan, according to his press office.

Reports from the region said two civilians had also been killed, including a 12-year-old boy.

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