Fighting breaks off between Armenia and Azerbaijan
April 2, Baku: Heavy fighting has broken out between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces along the frontlines of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region on Saturday, according to government reports from both sides.
The authorities from the two countries have accused each other for the fighting that began Friday night. According to the the Armenian Defence Ministry spokesperson Artsrun Hovhannisyan Armenian forces in the region shot down an Azeri military helicopter, a claim denied by the Azerbaijan government. "Active combat is currently under way," Hovhannisyan said. "The Armenian Army has launched a counter-attack. There are victims on both sides but the opposing side has sustained huge losses in manpower and equipment. A [Azerbaijani] helicopter has been shot down." .
The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry, meanwhile has said that "the information about the downed helicopter was absolute lie and all vehicles were in place. It was another provocation on the part of Armenia".The ministry also said the fighting began when Armenian forces fired mortars and large-calibre artillery shells across the front line.No immediate figures of casualties have been released by the two sides.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for an end to fighting in the area and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has spoken with his Armenian and Azeri counterparts - Seyran Ohanyan and Zakir Hasanov - by phone, in an effort to cease attacks from both sides according to local media.
Fighting between these two sides began in the late 80s and escalated into full-scale war in 1991 during the collapse of the Soviet Union,, killing about 30,000 people before the 1994 ceasefire.
The Oslo Times