KABUL (Pajhwok): Heavy fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan militaries erupted on Sunday over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to a media report.
The two sides blamed each other for the escalation that led to reports of casualties.
Armenia has declared martial law and ordered its military to mobilise after a major flare-up in violence with Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Armenia accused neighbouring Azerbaijan of attacking civilian settlements in Nagorno-Karabakh – internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but controlled by Armenian forces – including the main city of Stepanakert.
Armenia’s defence ministry said its forces downed two Azerbaijani helicopters and three drones in response to an attack it said began at 04:10 GMT.
But Azerbaijan’s defence ministry said it launched a “counteroffensive to suppress Armenia’s combat activity and ensure the safety of the population”, using tanks, artillery missiles, combat aviation and drones.
The ministry said an Azerbaijani helicopter had been downed but its crew survived.
“There are reports of dead and wounded among civilians and military servicemen,” Hikmet Hajiyev, spokesman for the Azerbaijani presidency, said in a statement.
In a statement on Facebook, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said “the government has decided to declare martial law and a total mobilisation”, telling citizens to “get ready to defend our sacred homeland”.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, meanwhile, said in a televised address to the nation that “there are losses among the Azerbaijani forces and the civilian population as a result of the Armenian bombardment”.