Baku and Yerevan reject peace talks / REUTERS

Baku and Yerevan have exchanged accusations of firing directly into each other's territory and rejected pressure to hold peace talks as their conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region threatened to mushroom into all-out war.

Both reported firing from the other side across their shared border, well to the west of the Nagorno-Karabakh region over which fierce fighting broke out between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces on Sunday, Reuters reported on September 29.

Read alsoArmenia reports Azerbaijan's large-scale offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh region

The incidents signaled a further escalation of the conflict despite urgent appeals from Russia, the United States and others to halt it, Reuters said.

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, speaking to Russian state television, flatly ruled out any possibility of talks. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told the same channel they could not take place while fighting continued.

According to Reuters, further stoking tensions between the two former Soviet republics, Armenia said a Turkish F-16 fighter jet had shot down one of its warplanes over Armenian airspace, killing the pilot. It provided no evidence of the incident. Turkey called the claim "absolutely untrue," and Azerbaijan also denied it.

Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh: Recent developments

  • On the morning of Sunday, September 27, Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed fighting in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Both countries blamed each other for shelling as a result of which they suffered casualties.
  • Armenia and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic declared martial law and general mobilization.
  • Azerbaijan, in turn, introduced martial law on September 28. Partial mobilization was announced in that country.
  • Azerbaijan said that during a successful offensive they took control of several villages of Nagorno-Karabakh, but Armenia denies the information.
  • Both sides claim that they inflicted huge losses on the enemy, numbering hundreds of killed soldiers and dozens of destroyed units of military equipment.

Nagorno-Karabakh war: Past developments

  • The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region began in 1988, when the predominantly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.
  • In 1991-1994, the bloodshed conflict continued in the region, which ended with the signing of a ceasefire protocol. Nagorno-Karabakh proclaimed itself an independent "republic." Azerbaijan did not recognize this, considering the territory to have been occupied by Armenia.