Update (0643 EST):
The Azerbaijani MoD has just made this announcement:
“Taking into account the placement of firearms by the units of the Armenian armed forces near the places of residence, we call on the civilian population in the area to stay away from the military facilities and not to support the units of the Armenian armed forces. Information about this was sent to the Armenian residents of the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan through the mobile SMS service. At the same time, the population is warned by loudspeaker technical means and information leaflets are distributed.
Protection and protection of administrative, social, educational, medical, religious and other objects whose safety is guaranteed in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan and international humanitarian law norms will be organized.
Women, children, the elderly, as well as physically challenged persons and patients will be provided with necessary medical and other assistance, they will be provided with drinking water and food.
In order to ensure the evacuation of the population from the dangerous area, humanitarian corridors and reception points were established on the Lachin road and in other directions.”
Update (0638 EST):
The Armenia MoD has finally commented on the situation.
As of 2 p.m., the situation on the borders of the Republic of #Armenia is relatively stable.
— MoD of Armenia ?? (@ArmeniaMODTeam) September 19, 2023
Update (0633 EST):
The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense has just made this announcement:
“The units of the Armenian armed forces in the territory of Azerbaijan, where the Russian peacekeeping contingent is temporarily stationed, are intensively firing different types of weapons at the positions of the Azerbaijani Army located in the direction of Aghdam region.”
At approximately 0027 EST, a supposed landmine explosion destroyed an Azerbaijani truck in Khojavand, killing at least two employees of the Azerbaijan State Agency of Azerbaijan Motorways.
Bu gün s?h?r saatlar?nda yeni in?a edil?n ?hm?db?yli-Füzuli-?u?a avtomobil yolunun 58-ci km-d? AAYDA-ya m?xsus “Howo” markal? yük ma??n? minaya dü?üb.
N?tic?d? agentliyin 2 ?m?kda??-Sad?xov Samir Sabiroviç v? Quliyev F?rhad Hüseyna?a o?lu h?lak olublar.
Allah r?hm?t el?sin!
— Saleh Mammadov (@salehmammadov58) September 19, 2023
By 0400, Azerbaijani claimed that Armenian saboteurs had infiltrated the area and set the mines with the intent to kill Azerbaijani troops. By 0500 EST, the Azerbaijani government announced that a second incident had caused a truck crash in Fuzuli, killing three police officers and injuring another six. By 0530, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense closed its airspace to Armenia and made this announcement:
“In the last few months, the Armenian armed forces units in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan systematically fired at the positions of the Azerbaijani Army with various types of weapons, continued mining of our territories, engineering improvements of the combat positions, as well as increasing the number of trenches and shelters, led to an increase in tension.
In this regard, the strengthening of combat positions with personnel, armored vehicles, artillery installations and other means of fire, bringing the units to a high level of combat readiness, creating additional units for mobilization, expanding intelligence activities against the units of the Azerbaijan Army, infiltrating the depths of our positions, demining areas and civilian targets Actions such as re-mining of roads for the purpose of terrorist-provocation have been detected by our observations.
On September 19, a vehicle belonging to the State Agency of Azerbaijan Highways was destroyed and civilians were killed as a result of the explosion of a mine pre-installed for terrorist purposes by the intelligence-sabotage teams of the units of the Armenian armed forces in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan on the Ahmedbeyli-Fuzuli-Shusha highway. On the same day, our military personnel were killed and injured as a result of a mine planted by the intelligence-sabotage groups of the Armenian armed forces, which was carrying military personnel of the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Such facts are a continuation of the purposeful and planned terrorist policy of Armenia against Azerbaijan.
The Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan has repeatedly stated that, contrary to the provisions of the tripartite statement signed on November 10, 2020, the continued presence of the Armenian armed forces in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan is a serious threat to regional peace and stability.
Ensuring the provisions of the tripartite declaration, prevention of large-scale provocations committed in the Karabakh economic region, disarmament and withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from our territories, neutralization of their military infrastructure, safety of the civilian population returning to the liberated territories, as well as civilian workers and military personnel involved in reconstruction works. local anti-terrorist measures have been started in the region in order to ensure and restore the constitutional structure of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Within the framework of the measures, front-line and deep positions and long-term firing points, as well as combat vehicles and military objects of the Armenian armed forces are disabled by using high-precision weapons.
We reiterate that civilian population and infrastructure facilities are not targeted, only legitimate military targets are disabled.
The command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent and the management of the Turkey-Russia Joint Monitoring Center were informed about the measures taken.“
Military operations immediately began and Armenian positions in Stepanakert were first shelled.
????Azerbaijani armed forces strike the outskirts of Stepanakert pic.twitter.com/mdv3QxFIwl
— Ararat Petrosyan (@araratpetrosian) September 19, 2023
Armenian troops responded by returning fire, prompting the Azerbaijani government to issue this announcement, effectively declaring war on Armenia:
“The units of the Armenian armed forces in the territory of Azerbaijan, where the Russian peacekeeping contingent is temporarily stationed, fire from artillery installations at the positions of the Azerbaijani Army located in the direction of Aghdam region.
Response measures are taken by our departments in the mentioned direction.“
Armenian troops have engaged Azerbaijan forces as of this publication. The initial strikes by Azerbaijani troops targeted at least two Tor missile defense batteries belonging to Armenian troops.
?Erm?nistan Silahl? Qüvv?l?rinin A?a?? Otaraq k?ndind? (A?d?rin istiqam?ti) elektron döyü? m?nt?q?sinin minaatan?n?n m?hv edilm?si. pic.twitter.com/BoejtVpGpF
— ????????????? (@_Elmir_S) September 19, 2023
This is developing.