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Conflict and Peace

Stories related to violent conflicts, diplomatic tensions, and conflict prevention, mediation and resolution.

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First Summit of the European Political Community opens in Prague

First Summit of the European Political Community opens in Prague

In the historic settings of Prague Castle, leaders from across Europe gathered on Thursday for the first summit of the European Political Community. Apart from the leaders of the 27 EU member states, leaders from non EU member states are also attending, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom With the dramatic consequences of Russia’s aggression war, EU leaders agreed during the European Council meeting in June 2022 to launch the European Political Community with the aim of bringing together countries on the European continent. The ambition is to bring leaders together on the European continent and to foster their cooperation on issues of common interest, revolving around peace and security, the economic situation, energy and climate, and migration and mobility. No formal written outcome of the European Political Community is envisaged. After the traditional family photo, the meeting kicked off with a round table discussion on peace and security in Europe. This story will be updated throughout the day.

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Dozens dead or injured and tens of thousands displaced after clashes on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Dozens dead or injured and tens of thousands displaced after clashes on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Fighting on the border between the Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on Friday (16 September) killed at least 24 people, wounded dozens and prompted a mass evacuation. Both sides blamed each other for responsibility for the incidents. Kyrgyzstan’s Health Ministry said early Saturday that the bodies had been delivered to hospitals in the Batken region that borders Tajikistan. An additional 87 people were wounded, the ministry said. Clashes on the border that began earlier this week grew into large-scale fighting Friday involving tanks, artillery and rocket launchers. As part of the shelling, Tajik forces struck the regional capital, Batken, with rockets. Kyrgyzstan’s Emergencies Ministry said 136,000 people were evacuated from the area engulfed by the fighting. Kyrgyzstan's president, Sadyr Zhaparov, and his Tajik counterpart, president Emomali Rakhmon, were both in Samarkand in nearby Uzbekistan on Friday, participating in the Summit of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, and are reported to have met on the margins of the main event.
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UN Security Council starts discussing situation on Armenia-Azerbaijan border

UN Security Council starts discussing situation on Armenia-Azerbaijan border

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday (14 September) started discussing, in close session, the situation on the Armenia and Azerbaijan border. The meeting was held at the request of Armenia, who accuses Azerbaijan of encroaching on its territory. Diplomatic sources told the media that there was overall in the discussion unanimity in calling on the sides to immediately cease hostilities and return to diplomatic negotiations. It is understood that the Council will continue with its deliberations today, and the meeting this time will be in public. Meanwhile, the Secretary of National Security Council of Armenia on Wednesday evening told Armenian Public TV that following the mediation of the international community a cease fire had been agreed by both Armenia and Azerbaijan starting from 20.00 hours. There have so far not been any reports of new clashes overnight. In Armenia, the political situation remains tense, with the opposition collecting signatures from MPs for the impeachment of prime minister Nikol Pashinyan. But so far only opposition MPs have joined the initiative which is likely to fail.
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Armenia and Azerbaijan bury their dead

Armenia and Azerbaijan bury their dead

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been burying the dead from the violence on their border on Tuesday. Official figures indicate that 49 Armenian soldiers and fifty Azerbaijani soldiers were killed during the overnight clashes from Monday to Tuesday (12-13 September). Reports suggest that the final figures are likely to be higher. Armenia has also reported three civilians injured during the fighting. Details as to what exactly happened are unclear. Azerbaijan says it was responding to Armenian provocations. Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of trying to take by force chunks of its territory in order to establish a land corridor between its mainland territory and the exclave of Nakhichevan which is separated by the Armenia  province of Siyunik. There have been widespread calls by the international community for an immediate end to the fighting and for both sides to return to previously held positions in order to allow all issues to be resolved in negotiations. Armenia on Tuesday appealed to Russia, with which it has a defence treaty, and to the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, of which it is a full member, for support. A virtual summit of the CSTO countries took place on Tuesday afternoon and the organisation agreed to send an investigation mission to the region. EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar, has arrived in Baku where he is expected to consult with government leaders before travelling to Yerevan.
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Updated: Intense diplomatic activity after clashes on Armenia-Azerbaijan border

Updated: Intense diplomatic activity after clashes on Armenia-Azerbaijan border

International efforts are under way to try to contain fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Toivo Klaar said the EU is in close contact with the sides to contribute to de-escalation. "The fighting along the Armenian-Azerbaijan border & the reported intense shelling need to stop immediately", Klaar tweeted. Dozens of soldiers are reported to have been killed in the heavy exchange of fire overnight. Armenia says that at least 49 of its soldiers are dead. Azerbaijan has also reported casualties. It is not yet clear if there were civilian casualties on  either side There was intensive diplomatic activity in the early hours of Tuesday (13 September) following armed clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan on their border. Both sides accuse each other of provocations and there were reports of use of heavy weapons, including artillery, mortars and drones. There are also reports of casualties, although this cannot as yet be confirmed. Armenian sources said that prime minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke on the phone with Russian president, Vladimir Putin, French president Macron and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Some reports suggested that the two sides had agreed to a cease fire starting at 0900 local time Tuesday (13 September).
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Reports of serious incidents on the Armenia - Azerbaijan border

Reports of serious incidents on the Armenia - Azerbaijan border

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan are reporting serious incidents on the border of the two countries. The two sides accuse each other of starting the fighting. There are reports of casualties but these cannot as yet be confirmed. Shooting appears to have started late on Monday evening (12 September) and continued in the early hours of Tuesday (13 September), and involved artillery and mortar exchanges and the use of other heavy weapons. The Armenian side says that the areas affected are in the direction of Goris, Jermuk and Sotyk Districts. Azerbaijan says that the areas affected are Lachin, Kelbajar and Dashkesan. Armenian media source quote European Union spokesperson Peter Strano saying that the EU is monitoring closely the situation. "The European Union calls on the sides to refrain from any actions that could exacerbate the situation and undermine the ongoing settlement process, which the European Union strongly supports and remains committed to", Strano was quoted as saying.
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Russia attacks power stations and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine

Russia attacks power stations and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine

Russia attacked power stations and other civilian infrastructure in Ukraine on Sunday (11 September), causing widespread outages across the country as Kyiv’s forces pressed a swift counteroffensive that has driven Moscow’s troops from large swaths of territory it had occupied in the northeast. The bombardment ignited a massive fire at a power station on Kharkiv’s western outskirts and killed at least one person. President Volodymyr Zelensky denounced the “deliberate and cynical missile strikes” against civilian targets as acts of terrorism. Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv appeared to be without power Sunday night. Cars drove through darkened streets, and the few pedestrians used flashlights or mobile phones to light their way. Separately, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the Russia-occupied south completely shut down in a bid to prevent a radiation disaster as fighting raged nearby.
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Ukrainian army makes advances liberating big chunks of territory

Ukrainian army makes advances liberating big chunks of territory

Ukrainian forces have liberated over 2,000 sq km (772 sq miles) of territory from Russian occupation in a rapid counter-offensive in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine's rapid advance saw troops enter the key towns of Izyum and Kupiansk on Saturday, although fighting continues in the vicinity of the towns. Officials in Kyiv said Ukrainian forces were still fighting to gain control of a number of settlements around Izyum, while adding that more than 30 towns and villages have been retaken in the Kharkiv region. Russia's defence ministry confirmed its forces' retreat from Izyum itself and Kupiansk, which it said would allow its forces "to regroup" in territory held by Moscow-backed separatists. The Russian ministry also confirmed the withdrawal of troops from a third key town, Balaklyia, in order to "bolster efforts" on the Donetsk front. Ukrainian forces entered the town on Friday. Meanwhile, the head of the Russia-installed administration in the Kharkiv region recommended that its people evacuate to Russia "to save lives".