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Armenia notifies post-Soviet security bloc of its decision to skip military drills

The step was taken in view of the escalation of the conflict in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, according to the CSTO spokesman

MOSCOW, October 6. /TASS/. Armenia has notified the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) that it will skip the bloc’s ‘Unbreakable Brotherhood-2020’ drills scheduled for October this year, CSTO Spokesman Vladimir Zainetdinov told TASS on Tuesday.

"Armenia has notified the CSTO that it will be unable to participate in the Unbreakable Brotherhood-2020 peacekeeping drills scheduled to run on the territory of the Republic of Belarus on October 12-16," the spokesman said.

Armenia has decided to skip the CSTO’s drills amid the escalation of the conflict in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.

In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France and the United States.