BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Azerbaijan and Armenia on Monday both reported more losses in a sharp escalation of fighting over the South Caucasus region Nagorno-Karabakh, with 18 soldiers now confirmed dead.
The Azerbaijani region and some adjacent territory have been under the control of Armenian soldiers and ethnic Armenian local troops since the end in 1994 of a six-year separatist war. Both sides report frequent shootings and attempted incursions along the cease-fire line, but the latest outbreak of fighting has been the worst in many years.
Russia, the United States and the European Union have all expressed concern and urged both sides to respect the cease-fire.
Armenia's prime minister said the presidents of the two countries were expected to meet at the end of the week in Sochi, Russia, although this has not been confirmed by Azerbaijan. Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan would have separate meetings in Sochi with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Neither side showed much willingness Monday to compromise.
Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry said Armenia "bears full responsibility for the evolving dangerous situation" while Armenia's defense minister Seiran Oganian said his country was doing everything possible to lower tensions.