The fighting between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh has intensified, with heavy civilian and military casualties reported amid disputed claims of an Azeri warplane getting shot down.

Azerbaijani troops and the forces of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic have been trading artillery and rocket fire, with the population of much of Karabakh told to seek shelter. Meanwhile, Armenia has declared a general mobilization and barred men between the ages of 18 and 55 from leaving the country, except with approval of military authorities.

The most intense attacks are in the Aras river valley, on the border with Iran, and the Matagis-Talish front in the northeast of the region, said Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan. He said the attackers have lost 22 tanks and a dozen other vehicles, along with 370 dead and many wounded.

Artur Sargsyan, deputy commander of the Nagorno-Karabakh military, said their own losses so far have amounted to 84 dead and more than 200 wounded.

Vagram Pogosyan, spokesman for the president of the self-declared Artsakh Republic – the ethnic Armenian government in Karabakh – said their forces have shot down an Azeri An-2 airplane outside the town of Martuni on Monday. This is in addition to some three dozen drones, including ones provided by Turkey, the Armenian forces said they have shot down over the past 48 hours.

Baku has denied any reports of losses, saying only that two civilians were killed on Monday, in addition to five on Sunday, and 30 were injured. There was no official information on military casualties. Reports of the downed airplane were rejected as “not corresponding to reality.”

Azeri forces have taken several strategically important heights near the village of Talish in Nagorno-Karabakh, spokesman for the Defense Ministry in Baku, Colonel Anar Eyvazov, said in a statement. He was also quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that Lernik Vardanyan, an Armenian airborne commander, was killed near Talish. Armenia has denied this as “disinformation.”

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In a video conference on Monday, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev told UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres that the question of Nagorno-Karabakh should be resolved in line with the UN Security Council resolutions guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and called for urgent withdrawal of Armenian troops from “occupied territories.” (RT)