The foreign ministers of the US, France and Russia condemned Monday the "unprecedented and dangerous escalation of violence" between Armenia and Azerbaijan, calling for the parties to institute a ceasefire.
In a joint statement the top officials stressed "unconditionally that recent attacks allegedly targeting civilian centers - both along the Line of Contact and on the territories of Azerbaijan and Armenia outside the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone - and the disproportionate nature of such attacks constitute an unacceptable threat to the stability of the region."
"The Ministers call once again upon the conflicting parties to accept an immediate and unconditional ceasefire," the ministers of what is called the OSCE Minsk Group said.
The OSCE Minsk Group - co-chaired by France, Russia and the US - was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed upon in 1994.
Neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia, which supports the breakaway region, has shown any sign of backing down so far.
Azerbaijan celebrates partial retreat of Armenian forces
Armenia's Defense Ministry said that the forces of Nagorno-Karabakh successfully implemented a "tactical trick" on Monday, which allowed it to deliver significant losses to Azerbaijan's military.
According to the ministry, the fighters imitated retreat from their battle positions in one of the key areas on the contact line. And when the Azerbaijani soldiers moved in to occupy the ground that they thought was abandoned, they walked straight into a trap.
The Azerbaijani unit was subject to intensive artillery fire and lost some 200 soldiers before fleeing, the Armenian side insisted.
Almost simultaneously with the Armenian announcement, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev tweeted that his country's military had "liberated" three villages in Nagorno-Karabakh and gained control of several strategic heights in the region. Aliyev called the Nagorno-Karabakh campaign "successful" for Baku.
Armenia wants Washington to explain if it supplied Turkey with F-16s to aid Azerbaijan
Armenia's prime minister wants clarification from the US about the sale of F-16s to Turkey, claiming the advanced jets are bombing civilians amid the 'existential' battle with Azerbaijan over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey and Azerbaijan strongly denied the claims, but the rebuttals have not prevented Armenia from raising the issue of Ankara's perceived involvement in the Nagorno-Karabakh fighting with its major NATO ally, the United States.
Last Thursday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a telephone conversation with US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, the New York Times reported on Monday. Washington "needs to explain whether it gave those F-16s [to Turkey] to bomb peaceful villages and peaceful populations," Pashinyan told the Times.
According to the Armenian leader, O'Brien "heard and acknowledged" his grievances and promised to arrange a separate phone call with President Donald Trump. That conversation did not take place, however, as Trump announced he had tested positive for Covid-19 shortly afterward.
The Turkish Air Force, one of the largest within NATO, is in possession of an estimated 245 F-16C/D aircraft assembled locally by Turkish Aerospace Industries.
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