Azerbaijan said on Thursday that 71 of its soldiers had been killed in clashes on the border with Armenia over the past two days in the worst fighting since 2020.

In Yerevan, it was announced that there is a ceasefire on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, no new cases of violence were reported during the night.

According to the preliminary data of Azerbaijan, the number of dead was 50 people.

Azerbaijan’s defense ministry released a list of 71 servicemen killed in clashes between the historic rivals since Tuesday, while Yerevan said 105 of its troops had been killed.

Clashes ended “thanks to international involvement” on Thursday night, Armenia’s Security Council said, after earlier failed attempts by Russia to broker a ceasefire.

The European Union welcomed the ceasefire, which it said was “so far being enforced”.

“The EU is still actively involved in the process of normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” Peter Stano, the bloc’s spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy, said in a statement.

EU Special Representative Toiva Klaar held high-level consultations in Baku on Wednesday and in Yerevan on Thursday, he said.

Baku and Yerevan have traded accusations of starting the violence that has forced hundreds of peaceful Armenians from their homes.

The escalation took place at a time when Moscow, Yerevan’s closest ally, was distracted by the almost seven-month war in Ukraine.

A delegation from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) — the Moscow-led grouping of several former Soviet republics — is due to arrive in Yerevan later Thursday, Armenia’s foreign ministry said.

READ ALSO: Death toll rises on second day of Armenian-Azerbaijani fighting

Armenia is a CSTO member, while Azerbaijan is not.

On Tuesday, Armenia’s Security Council requested military assistance from Moscow, which is contractually obligated to defend Armenia in the event of a foreign invasion.

– Fragile peace process –

Opposition supporters staged an anti-government protest in Yerevan overnight, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan after rumors he plans to negotiate concessions in a decades-long territorial dispute with Azerbaijan.

The Caucasian neighbors fought two wars — in the 1990s and in the 2020s — over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave of Azerbaijan populated by Armenians.

Six weeks of fighting in 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 troops on both sides and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

Under the agreement, Armenia ceded swathes of territory it had controlled for decades, and Moscow deployed about 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to monitor the fragile truce.

The conflict in Ukraine has shifted the balance of power in the region as Russia faces increasing international isolation.

Since then, the European Union has spearheaded the process of normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which includes peace talks, border delimitation and resumption of transport.

During EU-mediated talks in Brussels in May and April, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian leader Pashinyan agreed to “preliminarily discuss” a future peace treaty.

The last time they met in Brussels was on August 31 for negotiations mediated by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.

Analysts say the latest escalation has largely derailed Brussels’ efforts to bring Baku and Yerevan closer to a peace deal.

Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. About 30,000 people died in the conflict.

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