Armenia and Azerbaijan ceasefire breaks down within hours - ABC News

 proxy.yoo.workers.dev  10/18/2020 14:04:19 

Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of violating a new humanitarian ceasefire in fighting over the mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, just hours after it was agreed.

  • The ceasefire began at midnight on Saturday local time and was broken in a matter of hours
  • Both sides are blaming the other for the truce ending in failure
  • Hundreds have died in the fighting since late September, including at least 96 civilians

The truce agreed on Saturday came after a week-old Russian-brokered ceasefire failed to halt the worst fighting in the South Caucasus since the 1990s.

At least 750 people have been killed since fighting began on September 27.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountain territory that is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but is populated and governed by ethnic Armenians.

The ceasefire came into affect at midnight local time on Saturday  however just 14 hours later, the Azeri defence ministry said a region adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh was under Armenian shelling.

It said Armenian military units opened fire from large-calibre weapons along the border, an allegation Armenia denied.

Armenia for it's part said the Azeri army had fired twice during the night and used artillery. It accused Azerbaijan of rejecting its request to withdraw wounded soldiers from the battlefield.

"This step & was categorically rejected by [Azerbaijan's capital city] Baku," the foreign ministry said in a statement, which Azerbaijan labelled as misinformation.

Timur Haligov, a father, embraces the body of his 10-month-old daughter at her funeral. She was killed in Armenian shelling.
At least 750 people have been killed since fighting began on September 27.(DHA via AP: Can Erok)

The Azeri defence ministry said: "The enemy fired at the vicinity of the Jabrail city, as well as the villages of this region & using mortars and artillery," adding that the Azeri army "took adequate retaliatory measures".

The ministry said that Azeri military units downed an Armenian Su-25 warplane, however officials in Yerevan, Armenia's capital, swiftly denied that claim.

Officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said Azeri forces had launched an attack on the enclave's military positions and there were casualties and wounded on both sides.

The ceasefire earlier this month was aimed at letting the sides swap detainees and bodies of those killed in the clashes, but it had little impact on fighting around the enclave.

A man walks in the yard of an apartment building damaged by shelling and strown with rubbish.
An earlier Russian-brokered ceasefire, agreed to last week, also ended in failure.(AP: Dmitri Lovetsky)

The new truce was announced on Saturday after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov talked to his Armenian and Azeri counterparts by phone and called on sides to observe the truce that he mediated a week ago.

Russia, France and the United States belong to the Minsk Group, which has attempted to help resolve the conflict under the umbrella of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Baku said 60 Azeri civilians had been killed and 270 wounded since the fighting flared up on September 27. It has not disclosed its military casualties.

Nagorno-Karabakh says 673 of its military personnel have been killed, and 36 civilians.

Reuters

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