Sat. Oct 1st, 2022

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi openly blamed Azerbaijan for the renewed conflict in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, although this was disputed by Baku.

Speaking in Armenia on Sunday, Pelosi said, “Our meeting again had special importance for us because of the focus on security following the illegal and deadly attacks by Azerbaijan on Armenian territory.”

“We strongly condemn these attacks,” she continued, adding that they “threaten the prospects of a much-needed peace agreement” between the two sides.

The US official’s comments were strongly condemned by Azerbaijan, saying they distort the situation in the region and are unacceptable.

Baku said it was forced to respond to Armenian provocations in Nagorno-Karabakh, although Armenia blames Azerbaijan for the renewed violence.

The two countries fought a brief war over the region in 2020. Russian peacekeepers imposed a ceasefire in the area, although it came under pressure in September.

Armenia said Azerbaijan shelled at least six Armenian settlements inside the border shortly after midnight on September 13, attacking civilian and military infrastructure with drones and large-caliber artillery. Erevan said that it was an unprovoked aggression.

Azerbaijan, supported by Turkey, rejects these claims. Baku says Armenian sabotage units tried to detonate Azerbaijani positions, prompting soldiers to respond. Armenia says the story is Azerbaijani disinformation.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also expressed concern that Russia could “stir the pot” between the two countries to distract from its actions in Ukraine.

On the ground in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Russian-backed equivalent of NATO, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, is assessing the damage. Armenia is a member of the organization.

The chief of the joint staff, Anatoliy Sidorov, said that they are trying to be as objective as possible and are working on the facts to determine what actually happened.

The two former Soviet countries have been locked in a decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnically Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan.

The region has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the separatist war there ended in 1994. However, during the six-week war in 2020, Azerbaijan took back large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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