Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia and Azerbaijan clash after ceasefire
Fresh shelling in Nagorno-Karabakh has been reported hours after a ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan came into effect.
Eyewitnesses and Armenia media reported that blasts hit the disputed region’s capital Stepanakert on Saturday.
Both Armenia and Azerbaijan had earlier accused each other of violating the ceasefire.
Both have agreed to a temporary truce during talks in Moscow on Friday after two weeks of intense clashes.
Armenia’s defense ministry reported that Azeri forces had launched an attack five minutes after the truce had been due to come into effect, with ethnic Armenian forces responding. The minister also said that Azeri forces were bombarding the area.
On the other hand, Azerbaijan’s forces claimed that Armenia was “blatantly violating the ceasefire regime” and firing into the Azeri regions of Terter and Agdam. Armenia denied this.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had said the two countries would now begin “substantive” talks.
However, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan later explained the negotiations as “rather difficult” and said Armenia wanted Nagorno-Karabakh to be recognized internationally as an independent state.
Karabakh officials have accused Azerbaijan of using ceasefire negotiations as cover to prepare for fresh attacks.
On the other hand, Azeri Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov explained that not enough pressure had been put on Armenia during negotiations. The minister added that the situation in the disputed region could not remain as it was.
He said, “Azerbaijan expected to take control of more territory and the ceasefire would last only as long as it took for the Red Cross to arrange for bodies to be exchanged”.
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