Yerevan/Baku: Over 100 people have died and more than 300 wounded in the Armenia-Azerbaijan clashes that erupted on Sunday. Both nations claim their opponents have seized control of vulnerable areas and have vowed to continue the fight till the very last drop of blood. Also, Armenia has accused Turkey of downing its fighter jet. On the other hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to have had talks with the Armenian President. Russia expressed resentment over Turkey’s aid to Azerbaijan and warned President Erdogan to work towards achieving a solution peacefully.
The fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan in July had claimed the lives of 16 soldiers. However, the strife that started on Sunday morning has now transformed into war, in which at least 100 have died. These include over 80 soldiers from Armenian-controlled regions of Nagorno-Karabakh. Even though Azerbaijan has now admitted to suffering casualties, the country has not declared the figure. More than 300 soldiers and civilians have been wounded on both sides.
Turkey’s growing involvement in the war has drawn much attention. Moreover, the country’s interference in the Libyan and Syrian wars in the past few years has been a cause of displeasure for the international community. Despite that, Turkey has opened a new front in Azerbaijan and made its expansionist ambitions evident. Russia is disgruntled with Turkey’s participation in a war, where both warring sides are ex-Soviet republics. Therefore, the tensions between Turkey and Russia are likely to escalate over the current situation in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile, Armenia has accused Turkey of downing its fighter jet. The Armenian Defence Ministry stated that an F-16 aircraft that entered into its territory from Azerbaijan’s airspace had downed its Su-25 fighter jet. The ministry further said the incident occurred in the Armenian airspace although Turkey has rejected the claims.
Armenia and Azerbaijan, both separated from the USSR after its collapse in 1991, and have engaged in frequent fighting over control of Nagorno-Karabakh since the 1980s. Nevertheless, Russia has supported Armenia and also signed a defence agreement with the country. Furthermore, Armenia is recognized as a Christian nation and is home to a population of nearly 3 million.
Although the population of Nagorno-Karabakh primarily comprises of ethnic Armenian Christians, the region is internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan. The autonomous government of the area has refused to accept Azerbaijan’s control over it, a stand which has received full support from Armenia. On the other hand, Azerbaijan is an Islamic state with a large Turkish population. The country has a population of more than 10 million and recognized as an oil-rich country. What’s more, Azerbaijan is believed to hold strategic significance since some of the oil pipelines from Russia to Europe and Turkey pass through the country.