YEREVAN — An attempt by Russia to broker a ceasefire to end a major escalation in hostilities along portions of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border Tuesday has apparently failed, as fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces continue.
Russia claimed on Tuesday to have brokered another Armenian-Azerbaijan ceasefire agreement to stop heavy fighting that raged on the border between the two South Caucasus states overnight and in the morning.
“We expect that the agreement, reached as a result of Russian mediation, on a ceasefire from 9 a.m. Moscow time (10 a.m. Armenian time) on September 13 of this year will be carried out in full,” read a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry.
A senior Russian lawmaker, Grigory Karasin, said that the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani is now “relatively calm.” He said President Vladimir Putin personally intervened to halt the hostilities after a phone conversation with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Speaking in the Armenian parliament at 11:30 a.m. local time, Pashinyan said that while the “intensity” of the hostilities has decreased Azerbaijani troops are continuing to attack Armenian army positions at “one or two sections” of the frontier.
Pashinyan linked the escalation to discussions on peace treaty. He said Baku is trying to force Yerevan to accept the Azerbaijani terms of such a deal. They are highly unfavorable for the Armenian side and would not even guarantee Armenia’s territorial integrity, he said.
The Armenian Defense Ministry reported early in the afternoon a “considerable decrease in the intensity of shelling.” Still, it said Azerbaijani forces are making more attempts to seize or advance towards its border posts in Gegharkunik and another province, Syunik.
“Armenian army units are continuing to accomplish their combat tasks in full,” the ministry added in a statement.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Suren Papikyan spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu in the morning. According to the Armenian Defense Ministry, the two men agreed to take “necessary steps to stabilize the situation.”
Shortly after Pashinyan’s phone call with Putin, Armenia formally appealed to Russia and the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for urgent help in the face of what it described as a large-scale Azerbaijani attack on Armenian territory.
Moscow did not publicly side with Armenia, its main regional ally. The Russian Foreign Ministry statement said “problems between Armenia and Azerbaijan must be resolved only by political-diplomatic means.”
Pashinyan revealed that at least 49 Armenian soldiers were killed in the fighting that broke out at several sections of the border shortly after midnight. The Azerbaijani side did not release any casualty numbers as of Tuesday afternoon.
Azerbaijani forces shelled not only Armenian border posts but also Armenian villages close to the border. At least three civilian residents of those communities were wounded and many others evacuated as a result, according to authorities in Yerevan.