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Armenian troops in firing range training near Yerevan
Image: Hayk Baghdasaryan/Photolure/Reuters

Nagorno-Karabakh: Warring sides claim cease-fire violation

October 26, 2020

Azerbaijan has accused Armenian forces of violating a recent US-brokered cease-fire in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia denied the claim, saying it was Azerbaijani forces who had launched an attack.


Fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh

The Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry on Monday accused Armenia of a "gross violation" of a US-brokered cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh , shortly after it went into effect. Baku said Armenian forces had shelled villages in the Terter and Lachin regions. 

Armenia's defense ministry called the claim "misinformation," saying instead Azerbaijan had "grossly violated" the cease-fire when it launched an artillery attack on various combat positions on the front line.

Armenian President Nikol Pashinyan insisted on Facebook that his country "continues to strictly adhere to the cease-fire regime," while an aide to Azerbaijani President Haikmet Hajiyev said in a statement that "the Azerbaijani side is exercising restraint."

DW received confirmation that fighting had broken out again, but according to correspondent Aaron Tilton in the Armenian capital Yerevan, it was "not clear which side was responsible for the salvos."

Read moreArmenians in France plead for Nagorno-Karabakh intervention

Short-lived truce

The "humanitarian" cease-fire was announced by the United States following talks with the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Washington on Sunday and took effect at 8 a.m. local time (0400 UTC). 

Map of the region

The deal followed nearly a month of fresh conflict in the region, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but run by ethnic Armenians. Two previous temporary truces, brokered by Russia, have failed to hold.

Russia, the US and France are leaders of the so-called Minsk Group, which has been working to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the conflict since the 1990s.

The warring parties agreed to abide by the terms of the cease-fire agreed in Moscow on October 10, which were reaffirmed in the statement issued from Paris on October 17, a joint statement said.

The State Department said over the weekend that the Minsk co-chairs and foreign ministers had "agreed to meet again in Geneva on October 29" to seek "all steps necessary to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict."

Read moreGermany under pressure to take sides in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Month of violence

Fighting over the region has surged to its worst level since a war from 1991-1994 that killed some 30,000 people.

More than 1,000 people have reportedly been killed in the latest violence — mostly Armenian separatists — but the true death toll is believed to be much higher. Azerbaijan said 65 of its civilians had been killed but has not released any figures on its military casualties. Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said close to 5,000 people had been killed.

Armenians consider the mountainous enclave to be part of their historic homeland while Azeris consider it illegally occupied land that should be returned to their control.

Read moreFleeing Nagorno-Karabakh: Ethnic Armenians in limbo

dr/rt (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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