Home World Opposing sides launch war of words as truce fails within minutes

Opposing sides launch war of words as truce fails within minutes

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Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of attacking large cities overnight in violation of a brand-new ceasefire deal brokered by Russia over hostilities in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of attacking large cities overnight in violation of a brand-new ceasefire deal brokered by Russia over hostilities in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Azerbaijani authorities said nine civilians were killed and more than 30 others wounded after Armenian forces fired missiles at Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, and hit a residential building. The city of Mingachevir also came under missile attacks, according to Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor General’s office.

Nagorno-Karabakh’s military officials denied attacking Ganja and said the territory’s army was observing the ceasefire. They claimed Azerbaijani forces shelled Stepanakert, the region’s capital, and other towns in a similar violation of the truce.

The recent bout of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces started on September 27 and left hundreds of people dead in the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since a separatist war there ended in 1994. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic forces backed by Armenia.

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a truce in Moscow after Russian President Vladimir Putin had brokered it in a series of calls with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

The ceasefire took effect at noon on Saturday, after talks in Moscow. The deal stipulated the ceasefire should pave the way for talks on settling the conflict.

If the truce had held, it would have marked a major diplomatic coup for Russia.

However, minutes after the ceasefire took force, both sides accused each other of continuing attacks in violation of the deal.

Nagorno-Karabakh’s army yesterday promised a “disproportionately harsh” response if Azerbaijan “continues to violate the ceasefire”. The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry said that “the political and military leadership of Armenia bears the responsibility for the aggravation of the situation in the region”.

Azerbaijan’s president said in an interview that “if the Armenian side is committed to the ceasefire regime… the phase of political settlement will begin.”

Irish Independent

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