Azerbaijan and Armenia accuse each other of violating the ceasefire
Azerbaijan and Armenia have both claimed that the other side instigated fresh attacks,
in the first hour of a delicate cease-fire brokered by Russia. Nagorno-Karabakh has seen repeated
shelling over the last two weeks.
The ceasefire, clinched after marathon talks in Moscow advocated by President Vladimir Putin,
was meant to halt fighting to allow ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azeri forces to
swap prisoners and war dead.
Azerbaijan and Armenia accuse each other of violating the ceasefire agreement.
Azerbaijan said enemy forces in the disputed region were shelling Azeri territory. Both sides have consistently
denied each others’ assertions about military activity.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry also issued a statement accusing Armenia of breaking the cease-fire.
“Armenia is blatantly violating the cease-fire regime,” the statement said, claiming there had been attacks
in two directions on the front line.
The cease-fire was agreed after 10 hours of talks sponsored by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Jeyhun Bayramov,
agreed to a cease-fire early Saturday “on humanitarian grounds for exchanging POWs and other detained
persons and dead bodies,” according to a statement read out by Lavrov.
The cease-fire deal was set to put a hold on a conflict that has threatened to spin out of control,
potentially pitting Turkey, a close ally of Azerbaijan, against Russia, which has a defense pact with Armenia.