Clashes erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the volatile Nagorno-Karabakh region that has led to the death of several soldiers besides destruction of military equipment.
“The Armenian Armed Forces suffered serious damage during the fighting on Sunday. In particular, the Azerbaijani army destroyed 22 tanks and other heavy armored vehicles, 15 units OSA air defense missile system, 18 drones, 8 artillery installations, 3 ammunition depots. More than 550 servicemen were killed,” Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense (MoD) told Interfax-Azerbaijan today.
On Sunday morning, Azerbaijan reportedly started "active bombing" along Karabakh's frontline including civilian targets and in the main city Stepanakert. While Azerbaijan claims it had responded to Armenian shelling and it seized control of up to seven villages, Nagorno-Karabakh has denied this.
Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan in a conflict that sprung as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Although a ceasefire was agreed three years later, both parties accuse each other of attacks around Nagorno-Karabakh and along the separate Azeri-Armenian frontier.
Russia is said to have deployed 15 MiG-29A, 3 MiG-29UB and several other jets to “shoot down” Azerbaijani drones.
Around mid-July, Turkey offered to supply the country with ammunition, drones, missiles and air defense systems, and said it is ready to work with Baku to modernize its own defense systems. Turkish Bayraktar TB combat drones that were extensively used by UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, were reportedly delivered to Azeri forces last week.
Armenia declared martial law and a military mobilisation as Baku and Yerevan reported civilian casualties, on Sunday. It allegedly destroyed 2 helicopters, 14 drones, T-72 SIM-2 (6), BMP-2 (3), BMP-3 (1), BTR-82 (1), a recovery vehicle and five heavy trucks.
The worst clashes since 2016 have raised the spectre of a fresh large-scale war between the arch enemies. In 2016, around 110 people were killed.
Azerbaijan Air Force on Monday said 49 of its 91 fighter jets are airworthy. The service has MiG-29S (13), MiG-29UB (3), Su-25 (26), Su-25BM (7), Su-25UB (5), L-39C (28), MiG-21SM (3 stored), Su-17M4 (4 stored) and Su-24MR (2 stored).