Vladimir Putin, President of Russia said on Thursday, 22nd October 2020 that Moscow believes that almost 5000 people have died in the conflict between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Putin said at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club that there are a lot of casualties almost 2000 from each side.
Nagorno-Karabakh says 874 of their military personnel have died since 27th September 2020. 37 civilians have also died in the conflict. Azerbaijan says 61 of their civilians have died and 291 have injuries. But they have not yet disclosed their military casualties.
Putin also said the United States will be helping Russia to broker a solution to the conflict.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
It is a territorial and ethnic conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Mostly Ethnic Armenians live in the region. And mostly Azerbaijanis live in the seven surrounding districts. This was until their expulsion during the Nagorno-Karabakh War. The area was de facto in the control of the self-declared Republic of Artsakh. But it had global recognization as a de jure part of Azerbaijan.
The conflict in the region dates back to the early 20th century. But the present conflict began in 1988. This start of this was when the Karabakh Armenians demanded that Karabakh be transferred from Soviet Azerbaijan to Soviet Armenia. The fighting between the regions escalated into a full-scale war in the early 1990s.
The two regions signed a ceasefire in 1994. This provided for two decades of relative stability, which significantly deteriorated along with Azerbaijan’s increasing frustration with the status quo. This was at odds with Armenia’s efforts to cement it. In April 2016, a four-day escalation became the deadliest ceasefire violation ever until the 2020 crisis.
Severe Clashes In 2020
On 27th September 2020 severe clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh re-erupted. This lead to Armenia declaring martial law and mobilization. On the very same day, Azerbaijan’s Parliament declared martial law. It further established curfews in several cities and regions following the clashes. These were the worst clashes since the 1994 ceasefire and caused alarm in the international community. Many international actors urged both sides to return to the table.
Between January and September 2020, 16 Azerbaijani, 8 Armenian soldiers, and Azerbaijani civilians were killed in sporadic clashes. By the end of September 2020, a large-scale conflict between the regions has erupted. 834 Armenian soldiers and 40 civilians have lost their lives in the fighting so far. 63 Azerbaijani civilians also died. There was no reveal of the Azerbaijani military losses.