Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said on Sunday his country’s forces had taken Shusha, the second-largest city in the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.
Armenian officials immediately denied the claim.
If accurate, this would be a major strategic victory over the region’s ethnic-Armenian separatists.
“With great pride and joy, I inform you that the town of Shusha has been liberated,” Aliyev said in a televised address to the nation, as Armenian officials reported that “heavy fighting” for the city continues.
Aliyev said November 8 would “go down in the history of the Azerbaijani people” as the day “we returned to Shusha”.
The town and surrounding areas have seen fierce fighting in recent days, as Azerbaijani forces seek to make further gains six weeks after new clashes broke out over Nagorno-Karabakh.
The city, called Shushi by Armenians, is of cultural and strategic importance to both sides and is located 15km (9 miles) south of the enclave’s largest city, Stepanakert.