Armenia, Azerbaijan trade accusations over truce

AP
Despite a second attempt at a cease-fire, Armenia and Azerbaijan traded accusations on Sunday of violating the new truce in their destructive conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh region.
AP

Despite a second attempt at a cease-fire, Armenia and Azerbaijan traded accusations on Sunday of violating the new truce in their destructive conflict over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The latest truce, which was announced on Saturday and took force at midnight, was the second attempt to establish a cease-fire since heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces broke out in Nagorno-Karabakh on September 27. The fighting and shelling has killed hundreds of people, “both combatants and civilians,” and marks the biggest escalation of a decades-old conflict over the region in more than a quarter-century.

The fighting, involving heavy artillery, rockets and drones, has continued despite repeated calls for cessation of hostilities coming from around the globe. It also raises the specter of a wider conflict that could draw in Russia and Turkey and threaten Caspian Sea energy exports.

Armenian military officials on Sunday reported artillery shelling and missile strikes by Azerbaijani forces in the conflict zone overnight. In the morning, “the enemy launched an attack in the southern direction,” and there were “casualties and wounded on both sides,” Armenian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanian said.

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, in turn, maintained that Armenian forces used mortars and artillery in the conflict zone overnight despite the cease-fire and in the morning attempted attacks in several directions.

The ministry accused Armenia of using large-caliber weapons to attack the positions of the Azerbaijani army in two regions north of Nagorno-Karabakh along the border, a claim Armenian military officials denied.

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