The United States and Germany added to calls for international observers to be allowed into the Nagorno-Karabakh region, as Azerbaijan said Wednesday that 192 of its soldiers were killed in an operation to retake the area from ethnic Armenian separatists.
The U.S. State Department said Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in a phone call to assure people in Nagorno-Karabakh their rights will be protected and to allow for humanitarian access to the region.
“The secretary urged President Aliyev to commit to broad amnesty and allow an international observer mission into Nagorno-Karabakh, and noted the President’s public commitments to help build a future for all those in Nagorno-Karabakh based on peace, mutual understanding, and mutual respect,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.
Aliyev’s office said he told Blinken “that respective activities are underway to ensure the rights of Armenian residents living in the Karabakh region” and that Azerbaijan’s forces targeted only military facilities in the 24-hour operation last week.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Wednesday that allowing monitors into the region “would be proof of confidence that Azerbaijan is serious about its commitments on the security and the wellbeing of people in Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Baerbock also announced Germany would more than double the humanitarian aid it is providing through the International Red Cross, boosting the funding to more than $5 million.
Azerbaijan’s offensive has pushed thousands of ethnic Armenians to flee Nagorno-Karabakh, which is entirely within Azerbaijan but had been under ethnic Armenian control since 1994, until parts of it were reclaimed by Azerbaijan during a war in 2020.
More than 43,000 people had arrived in Armenia by early Wednesday.
Separatist officials said the casualties on their side included more than 200 dead and 400 injured.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.