Armenia claims Azerbaijan violated fresh ceasefire

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Armenian officials accused the Azeri forces of using artillery and missiles early on Sunday, despite both sides agreeing on a ceasefire that went into effect at midnight local time.

“Once again violating the humanitarian ceasefire, the enemy fired artillery shells in the northern direction from 00:04 to 02:45, and fired rockets in the southern direction from 02:20 to 02:45,” said Armenia’s defense ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan.

Previously, the two countries issued a statement confirming the ceasefire.

“This decision was taken following the statement of the presidents of the French Republic, the Russian Federation and the United States of America, representing the co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group,” both foreign ministries said in a statement with identical wording.

A Russian-brokered suspension of hostilities was agreed last Saturday. The deal was aimed to allow the sides to swap detainees and the bodies of those killed, but it broke down quickly as both sides continued carrying out attacks, while accusing each other of violating the deal. Fighting has continued throughout the week.

Azerbaijan rescuers work on the devastated houses allegedly damaged by recent shelling in Ganja, Azerbaijan. EPA-EFE/AZIZ KARIMOV

On Saturday, Azerbaijani officials said an Armenian missile struck a residential district in Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, levelling homes and killing 13 civilians with 50 more wounded. 

The European Union, Russia and the US have all called for the fighting to stop and for peace talks to be mediated by France, Russia and the United States, whose representatives co-chair the so-called Minsk Group.

Fighting flared last month over a region internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but which is run by ethnic Armenians. Hundreds have died.

This is the worst violence in the region since a six-year war over the territory ended with a ceasefire in 1994.

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