Stepanakert: Armenia and Azerbaijan traded new accusations of assault on Saturday, violating the ceasefire agreement and ending nearly two weeks of intense fighting in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
After 11 hours of talks in Moscow, the two sides agreed to implement a ceasefire agreement starting at noon on Saturday (0800 GMT), but it took only a few minutes after the deadline for the two parties to request a new attack.
Karabakh, a national enclave of Armenia and Azerbaijan, broke away from the country’s control during a war in the 1990s, killing approximately 30,000 people.
Its divided government received strong support from Armenia. Armenia, like Azerbaijan, gained independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Baku accused Yerevan of occupying the area.
In the worst conflict since the war broke out on September 27, more than 450 people were reported dead and thousands were forced to flee their homes, fearing that the fighting might escalate into a devastating full-scale conflict.
Armenian defence ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan said that “in disregard of the previously declared humanitarian ceasefire” Azerbaijani forces had launched an attack on the frontline at 12:05 pm.
Azerbaijan’s defence ministry said Armenian forces had also carried out attacks on the frontline and were shelling two populated areas.
“Armenia is blatantly violating the ceasefire regime,” the ministry said in a statement.
The two sides also accused the other of launching an attack before the ceasefire deadline.