MOSCOW — Combating that was reported to be fierce broke out on Sunday between Azerbaijan and Armenia and rapidly escalated with the 2 sides claiming motion with artillery, helicopter and tanks alongside a disputed border.

The army motion centered on the breakaway province of Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous space north of Turkey and Iran the place ethnic tensions and historic grievances have made kindling for battle for many years.

The combating on Sunday, nevertheless, was reportedly extra extreme than the everyday periodic border skirmishes, and each governments used army language describing the occasions as struggle. Earlier than Sunday, the final main escalation was in 2016. Every sides accused the opposite of utilizing artillery in opposition to civilians.

“The enemy has began an assault” on the Karabakh area, the Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, mentioned in a submit on Fb.

Mr. Pashinyan mentioned the army of the Karabkah area, an ethnic Armenian enclave that claims to be an unbiased state however is generally unrecognized, had repelled the assault.

However the Ministry of Protection of Azerbaijan then issued an announcement saying it had begun a “counterattack” with tanks, helicopters and rocket artillery.

In a statement carried by Russian information companies, Azerbaijan mentioned the army operation had destroyed “troops, army objects and gear of the Armenian armed forces” close to the border in addition to deeper contained in the nation. It mentioned it destroyed 12 short-range antiaircraft installations in Armenia.

The Armenian Protection Ministry mentioned its forces had destroyed three tanks and shot down two helicopters, Reuters reported.

In previous flare-ups, each side have exaggerated their successes and the size of their enemies’ violations of cease-fire agreements, although the potential for a wider struggle has at all times been clear. The Karabakh area maintains a system to name up almost its total male inhabitants as minutemen, and this mobilization was introduced Sunday morning.

Combating in and across the Karabakh area, which Armenia calls Artsakh, was among the many most vicious of the early post-Soviet conflicts. A cease-fire was declared in 1994, however violence has usually flared up since.

Moscow sells weapons to each side and has additionally brokered cease-fire agreements. Russia has a army base in Armenia. The Armenian diaspora in France and america has aided the Karabakh area, together with financing building of a strategic mountain-access street.