Yesterday, according to the Armenian Weekly, Azerbaijan launched an attack against the Republic of Armenia. The Ministry of Defense stated that the shelling took place in “Armenian positions in Sotk, Vardenis, Goris, Kapan, Jermuk, Artanish and Ishkhanasar, as well as civilian infrastructure.”

Azerbaijan claimed that they were responding to “large-scale provocations” from Armenian forces when they began the shelling. According to The Guardian, Azerbaijan “accused Armenia of carrying out intelligence activity along the border and moving weapons” and “said its military positions came under attack by Armenia.”

While in the recent past, fighting has centered around Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory, these attacks by Azerbaijan have occurred in the Republic of Armenia.

Laurence Broers said that Azerbaijan attacked now because Russia, a mediator for the two nations, is occupied with its attack on Ukraine. “I think there is a feeling in Azerbaijan that now is the time to deploy its power, its military advantage, and to extract the maximum that it can get,” Broers said.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has stated that he spoke to the president of Azerbaijan and that the U.S. urges a ceasefire.

Is Russia an ally to Armenia?

Even though Russia is considered an ally to Armenia, it sells arms to both Azerbaijan and Armenia, according to The Associated Press. In 2022, Azerbaijan signed an ally agreement with Russia. The document declares “Allied Interaction between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation.”

As of 2022, Russia has alliances with both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Why are Azerbaijan and Armenia fighting?

Azerbaijan and Armenia have fought each other over the Nagorno-Karabakh region for decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union up until 1994 in what is called the Nagorno-Karabakh war.

According to The New York Times, tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan were present during the Armenian genocide, in which “an estimated one million had perished by 1918, while hundreds of thousands had become homeless and stateless refugees.” The genocide was carried out by the then Ottoman empire.

On Aug. 22, 1939, Adolf Hitler spoke about how the Holocaust was influenced by the world’s response to the Armenian genocide. He said, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” The Armenian genocide still has ramifications today.

Azerbaijan was incorporated in the Soviet Union until its independence in 1991 and while the country was not yet independent, it fought with Armenia.

On Feb. 26, 1992, Armenian forces killed 613 Azeri citizens, according to BBC. The Council of Europe classifies this as a crime against humanity. In 1994, Russia brokered a ceasefire agreement.

On Tuesday, the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention issued a statement condemning the attack on Armenia, saying, “We condemn the war of aggression that Azerbaijan is committing against the Republic of Armenia & Armenian people. Despite agreements for a ceasefire, Azerbaijan’s general rhetoric by its government indicates a continuous intent to destroy Armenian identity & territory.⁣”

The Institute also warned of a second Armenian Genocide: “The world must focus on the Southern Caucasus region as the Armenian people are suffering from rampant anti-Armenian sentiment & a continuous genocide.”