Azerbaijan claims conflict escalates as Armenia invades its second largest city

Missiles fired from Armenia since the end of the conflict have hit Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, an aide to the Azerbaijani president has claimed.

Azerbaijan claims conflict escalates as Armenia invades its second largest city

Despite calls from Russia, the United States, France and the European Union for a ceasefire, the war in the South Caucasus, which began a week ago, has accelerated.

Until now, the main battle has been between Azerbaijan and the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian siege inside Azerbaijan, also known as Aristotle.

This now threatens to lead to a direct war between the two countries.

So far, about 200 workers have been killed’ near Nagorno-Karabakh, according to officials, while Azerbaijani officials say 22 civilians have been killed’ and 74 injured.

Azerbaijan's aide to the president, Hikmat Hajiyev, tweeted a video on Sunday saying the buildings had been damaged and said it was” in Ganja, Armenia's second-largest city. Is the result of "missile attacks" that are not in Nagorno-Karabakh.

He said the Ganges and Beylagan, which are connected’ to Nagorno-Karabakh, were attacked "from the territory of Armenia".

The Armenian Defense Ministry has denied the attack, saying, "No fire can be opened in the direction of Azerbaijan from the territory of Armenia."

However, Nagorno-Karabakh leader Arayik Harutyunyan said on Facebook that he had ordered "rocket attacks to neutralize military equipment" in Ganja but later stopped firing to avoid civilian casualties.

His spokesman, Vahram Poghosyan, said the region's army had destroyed a military airfield in Ganja - a claim denied by Azerbaijani officials.

Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry tweeted that one civilian was killed’ and four others were injured in the attack.

The conflict threatens to drag other regional powers because Azerbaijan has the support of Turkey, while Armenia has a defense pact with Russia.

The Turkish Foreign Minister said: "The attacks on Armenian citizens in Ganja ... are a new manifestation of Armenian illegal behavior. We condemn these attacks."

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev tweeted that his forces had captured the city of Jabrail and several villages.

Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Shushan Stepanyan dismissed the claim as "another fabrication" - but independent verification was not possible.

Earlier, Azerbaijan accused Armenia of firing on its territory from the city of Vardenis, 50 miles (80 km) from Nagorno-Karabakh, but Armenia has denied this.

On Saturday, Azerbaijan said its forces had seized several villages.

The conflict is the worst since the 1990s, when nearly 30,000 people were’ killed.

There is international concern about stability in the South Caucasus as pipelines carry Azeri oil and gas to world markets.


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