Armenian human rights groups said two civilians, a woman and a child were killed in in the onslaught, while Azerbaijan said several of its civilians had been killed and six had been wounded.
Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly ethnic Armenian region inside Azerbaijan that declared independence in 1991, declared 10 of its military staff dead, announced martial law and mobilised the male population, as civilians living in the region were told to take cover.
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Russia, Turkey and France called for swift de-escalation, amid grave concern over a reignited conflict in the South Caucasus, a corridor for pipelines transporting oil and gas to world markets.
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, whose country has mediated in decades of conflict between majority Christian Armenia and mainly Muslim Azerbaijan, spoke by phone with his counterparts in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, urging both sides to cease fire immediately and hold talks.
Meanwhile, Turkey sided with Azerbaijan, with President Erdogan urging the Armenian people to “take hold of their future against their leadership that is dragging them to catastrophe, and those using it like puppets”.