In a joint statement issued on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov of Russia and Jean-Yves Le Drian of France condemned “in the strongest terms” the escalation of violence and, in particular, “disproportionate” shelling of civilian areas.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry hailed the statement, saying that the strong condemnation applies to Azerbaijan’s “unprecedented massive targeting of the civilian population and infrastructure” in Karabakh.
“We once again stress that there is no alternative to the peaceful settlement and the peace process, and any attempt to resolve the conflict by military means will be resolutely averted,” said the ministry.
As of Tuesday morning, the Azerbaijani government did not react to the joint appeal by the top U.S., Russian and French diplomats. Baku has until now made the end of the hostilities conditional on Armenian withdrawal from Karabakh.
Meanwhile, fighting on the Karabakh frontlines appeared to have eased late on Monday. Shushan Stepanian, an Armenian Defense Ministry spokeswoman, said the following morning that the situation there was “relatively calm” on the night from Monday to Tuesday.
“In case of further escalations, the entire responsibility will be borne by the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan,” Stepanian wrote on Facebook.
Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army likewise described the situation as “relatively stable but tense.” It said its troops are ready for “any development of events.”
The Azerbaijani military also did not report major fighting overnight.
The hostilities reportedly resumed, however, in the afternoon. Azerbaijan’s Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov said he has ordered his troops to continue their “counteroffensive.”
The Armenian side said Azerbaijani forces launched a “large-scale attack” at the southernmost section of the “line of contact” bordering Iran. Stepanian said that Karabakh Armenian forces are “methodically” destroying “enemy capabilities.”
Stepanian reported about an hour later that the Azerbaijani army resumed rocket strikes on the Karabakh capital Stepanakert. Earlier in the day she strongly denied Baku’s claims that the Armenians are again shelling civilian areas of Azerbaijan.
It also emerged that Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian visited Karabakh on Monday for the first time since the start of the war. A short video released by the Armenian government showed Pashinian meeting with Karabakh’s top political and military leaders and discussing the situation on the frontlines.