Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said that seven of its soldiers were killed and 10 others wounded in renewed fighting on the shared border that erupted on November 16.
According to a statement by Armenia’s Defense Ministry, 13 Armenian soldiers were captured by Azerbaijani forces and another 24 Armenian servicemen have gone missing and their fate remains unknown.
The statement added that one Armenian soldier was killed in the fighting that was stopped through Russia’s mediation.
Both sides blamed each other for starting the latest conflict amid tensions between the two former Soviet nations that have simmered since a six-week war last year over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan said its forces prevented “large-scale provocations” by Armenian forces in the Kalbacar and Lachin districts bordering Armenia.
In turn, Armenia’s Defense Ministry accused Azerbaijani soldiers of shooting at its positions along the border, using artillery, armored vehicles, and guns.
Later on November 16, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported that hostilities on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border had ceased after a cease-fire was reached with Moscow’s mediation. Armenia confirmed that report.
The situation along the border has been tense since the two South Caucasus nations fought a 44-day war over Nagorno-Karabakh last year that killed nearly 7,000 people and ended with a cease-fire that granted Azerbaijan control of parts of the region as well as adjacent territories previously held by Armenians.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington was “deeply concerned” about reports of intensive fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
In a statement released on November 16 the top U.S. diplomat said: “We urge both sides to take immediate concrete steps to reduce tensions and avoid further escalation. We also call on the sides to engage directly and constructively to resolve all outstanding issues, including border demarcation.”
“As noted in the Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ statement on November 15, the recent increase in tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan underscores the need for a negotiated, comprehensive, and sustainable settlement of all remaining issues related to or resulting from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Blinken added.
On November 16, the European Union also urged the two sides to show restraint.
Calling for “urgent de-escalation and [a] full cease-fire,” the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, described the situation in the region as “challenging.”
“The EU is committed to work with partners to overcome tensions for a prosperous and stable South Caucasus,” Michel wrote on Twitter.