BAKU (Bloomberg)—Azerbaijan told hospitals to be ready for war and started what it called “intense” military exercises, raising concerns of an escalation in its conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.
All medical institutions and personnel received “specific instructions” from the Azeri Defense Ministry to “take the necessary measures to prepare for possible military action that can take place at any moment,” the Defense Ministry said on its website on Thursday.
The Defense Ministry said earlier in the day that its armed forces began drills involving tanks, armored infantry carriers, and aircraft.
An escalation in violence would pose risks to the energy infrastructure around Azerbaijan. The Caspian Sea nation is the third-largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union, and also provides the only westward route for central Asian crude that bypasses Russia.
The State Department is aware of the Azeri military measures and is watching the situation closely, spokesman John Kirby said in Washington on Thursday.