Armenia, Azerbaijan trade accusations of breaching ceasefire
Published : Saturday, 10 October, 2020 at 10:59 PM Count : 283
Armenia and Azerbaijan traded accusations of new attacks on Saturday in breach of a ceasefire deal to end nearly two weeks of heavy fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The two sides agreed to implement the ceasefire from noon (0800 GMT) Saturday, after 11 hours of talks in Moscow, but it took only minutes after the deadline for their forces to claim new attacks.
An ethnic Armenian enclave of Azerbaijan, Karabakh broke from the country’s control in a war in the 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.
Its separatist government is strongly backed by Armenia, which like Azerbaijan gained independence with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, and Baku accuses Yerevan of occupying the region.
The heaviest clashes since the war erupted on September 27, with more than 450 people reported dead, thousands forced to flee their homes and fears the fighting could escalate into a devastating all-out conflict.
Armenian defence ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan said that “in disregard of the previously declared humanitarian ceasefire” Azerbaijani forces had launched an attack on the frontline at 12:05 pm.
Azerbaijan’s defence ministry said Armenian forces had also carried out attacks on the frontline and were shelling two populated areas.
“Armenia is blatantly violating the ceasefire regime,” the ministry said in a statement.
The two sides also accused each other of attacks just before the ceasefire deadline.