Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia And Azerbaijan Ceasefire Comes Into Force

Source: BBC

A temporary ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan has started following almost two weeks of fierce fighting in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

However less than an hour into the truce, which came into force at midday local time (08:00 GMT), each side accused the other of breaking it.

Armenia and Azerbaijan also accused each other for bombarding citizen regions in front of the ceasefire.

The truce aims to enable a trade of prisoners and the recovery of bodies.

It was agreed earlier after 10 hours of talks in the Russian capital Moscow, which Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan later described as “rather difficult”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the two nations would now start “substantive” talks.

In excess of 300 people have died and thousands been displaced since the most recent savagery in the long-running conflict broke out on 27 September.

Nagorno-Karabakh is run by ethnic Armenians although it is officially part of Azerbaijan.

The two former Soviet republics have blamed each other of the most recent outbreak of violence – the worst in decades.

Russia has an army base in Armenia and both are members from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) alliance.

Nonetheless, Moscow also has good relations with Azerbaijan.

source: BBC

What’s The Latest On The Ground?

Armenia’s defense ministry said Azeri forces had launched an assault five minutes after the truce had been due to come into effect, with ethnic Armenian forces responding. Azeri forces were also bombarding a town, the defense ministry said.

Then, Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said Armenia was “blatantly violating the ceasefire regime” and firing into the Azeri districts of Terter and Agdam. Armenia denied this.

There was also intense fighting ahead of the ceasefire. The self-declared ethnic Armenian authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said Azerbaijan fired missiles at civilian neighborhoods of the main city, Stepanakert, while Armenia accused Azeri forces of intensifying drone strikes.

As far as concerns its, Azerbaijan said Armenia had shelled populated areas near Nagorno-Karabakh and said it was returning fire.

On Thursday, Armenia accused Azerbaijan of deliberately shelling a historic cathedral in Nagorno-Karabakh. Pictures showed serious damage at the Holy Saviour Cathedral in Shusha city (known as Shushi in Armenian).

Simultaneously, Azerbaijan said that its second-largest city, Ganja, and the region of Goranboy had been shelled by Armenian forces, with at least one civilian killed.

Speaking to the BBC earlier this week, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan warned of a “genocide” in the region, and said it was “Armenia, land of Armenians”.

The clashes have displaced half of Nagorno-Karabakh’s populace – around 70,000 people – officials said.

Stepanakert has suffered a few days of shelling with residents shielding in basements and much of the city left without power.

Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war over Nagorno-Karabakh in 1988-94, eventually declaring a ceasefire. However, they never reached a settlement in the dispute.

This article is originally posted on BBC

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