Russia hinted that it had brokered a ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan in a statement on Tuesday, but it was short-lived.
According to the US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby, the Russian-brokered ceasefire was “almost immediately broken”.
Azerbaijan, meanwhile, tweeted on Wednesday that some of its army units were also under shelling. In a statement, the country’s defense ministry said a criminal case had been opened in the case of two civilians injured as a result of the ongoing conflict with Armenia.
Fifty Azerbaijani servicemen were killed in deadly clashes on Tuesday, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement. They include 42 members of the Azerbaijani Army and 8 members of the State Border Service, it said.
For decades, Armenia and Azerbaijan have had a dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, a heavily populated and Armenian-controlled border between Eastern Europe and West Asia but within Azerbaijani territory.
The unrest in the region stems from the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the region, backed by Armenia, declared its independence from Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has long vowed to retake the internationally recognized territory as Azerbaijan.
According to Reuters, in November 2020, fighting erupted again in the region for nearly two months, leaving at least 6,500 people dead. The wars ended after the Armenian-backed separatists agreed to relinquish control of territories in the area of resistance. Russia helped broker the truce between the two countries, when President Vladimir Putin sent peacekeepers along a line of communication in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“As far as we know, the peacekeeping presence is still there,” Kirby told reporters Tuesday. Asked if Russia could redeploy its troops to Armenia, Kirby said: “We don’t see any indication that Russian forces are redeploying now.”
On Tuesday, Armenia called on Russia to implement a 1997 defense treaty that stipulates countries will defend each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in the event of a foreign attack.
“A decision has been taken to officially apply to the Russian Federation on the implementation of the provisions of the Treaty of Amity, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the United Nations Security Council. United Nations on the aggression of the sovereign territory of the Republic. of Armenia,” a statement from the office of the Prime Minister of Armenia read.
The request follows a session with the Armenian Security Council and a call between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Putin, according to a statement from Pashinyan’s office.
Kirby said the US was “actively engaged” in trying to help end the violence, adding that Blinken had spoken to both the president of Azerbaijan and the prime minister of Armenia.
“We are actively engaged with both the Governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan to see what we can do to end this violence,” Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.
CNN’s Hannah Ritchie, Philip Wang, Anna Chernova and Eleni Giokos contributed reporting, as did journalist Aren Melikyan.