Nagorno-Karabakh truce frays amid reports of new shelling

Nagorno-Karabakh truce frays amid reports of new shelling”

The fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan sparked after Armenia targeted Azerbaijani positions and civilian settlements on September 27.

The Azerbaijani defence ministry said Monday that Armenian armed forces had shelled areas in four districts inside the country overnight. The leaders of Russia, France and the USA have appealed to both sides to observe a humanitarian truce agreement brokered in Moscow on October 10. Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but controlled by Armenia and populated mainly by ethnic Armenians.

French lawmaker Valerie Boyer says she will submit a proposal to the Senate to recognise the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh (Republic of Artsakh), where a confrontation between Azerbaijan and Armenia has been ongoing since the end of last month.

Among accusations on both sides, Azerbaijan said it had "neutralized" a missile fired by Armenian forces at an oil pipeline in Azerbaijan on Sunday, several hours after the ceasefire went into force.

The mountainous western region of Azerbaijan has remained under separatist Armenian control since a 1994 ceasefire ended a brutal war that killed 30,000.

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A humanitarian ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia came into force at midnight on Saturday, only to crumble within a few hours.

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the US, Russia, and France of providing weapons to Armenia. Despite the agreement, both sides have reported attacks, including on civilian infrastructure.

On October 14, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for the deployment of Russian observers in the NKR. Baku asserts that the Azerbaijani army's strikes target legitimate military objects, since the extensively mined and strongly fortified Aghdam provides Armenian forces with necessary strategic depth for defense. After simmering for decades, the conflict over the territory between the two countries broke into open warfare in recent weeks.

Armenian Defence Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanian dismissed the claim as a "blatant lie".

"As an additional threat to regional peace, the Minister of Foreign Affairs (NKR) named Turkey's direct participation in the hostilities unleashed by Azerbaijan, including through the transfer and involvement of worldwide armed terrorists in the armed forces of Azerbaijan". So far, Armenia's battlefield losses total around $2 billion, according to officials in Baku (APA, October 16).

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