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Karabakh Truce Still Not Holding, Says Yerevan


Nagorno-Karabakh - An ethnic Armenian soldier fires an artillery piece, October 5, 2020.

Armenia accused Azerbaijan on Thursday of continuing offensive military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh in breach of a Russian-mediated ceasefire agreement reached by the two countries on October 10.

“Five days into the Moscow Joint Statement of October 10 on cessation of fire, and Azerbaijan continues to torpedo its implementation,” tweeted Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian. “With the support and direct involvement of Turkey and terrorist fighters they continue large-scale war against Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh.”

The Armenian Defense Ministry said Azerbaijani forces resumed in the morning “intense artillery fire” at sections of the “line of contact” in northeastern and southeastern Karabakh. “Heavy fighting is now underway at the same sections,” a ministry spokesman wrote on Facebook at 11 a.m. local time.

NAGORNO-KARABAKH -- Paramedics and volunteers work in the basement of a medical center outside the city of Stepanakert, October 14, 2020
NAGORNO-KARABAKH -- Paramedics and volunteers work in the basement of a medical center outside the city of Stepanakert, October 14, 2020

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said Armenian forces “attempted to attack Azerbaijani army positions at some sections of the frontline” overnight. It accused them of again shelling Azerbaijani districts north and east of Karabakh in the following hours.

The ministry insisted that the Azerbaijani side is observing the “humanitarian ceasefire” agreed by the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian foreign ministers on October 10.

In an interview with the Turkish NTV channel aired later in the day, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev acknowledged that his army is continuing its offensive but blamed the Armenian side for it.

“We will keep advancing,” Aliyev said in remarks cited by the TASS news agency. They [the Armenians] must observe the ceasefire because they violated it.”

“We are now in the process of a military resolution of the problem,” he said. “We want to finish this process as soon as possible so that it is followed by a diplomatic process.”

Russia and the two other mediating powers, the United States and France, have repeatedly urged the conflicting parties to honor the agreement.

Russia has also called on Turkey, Azerbaijan’s staunch ally, to help stop the hostilities. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the issue by phone on Wednesday.

AZERBAIJAN --- People stand in front of a house destroyed by shellings in the village of Bakharly, near Agdam, October 14, 2020.
AZERBAIJAN --- People stand in front of a house destroyed by shellings in the village of Bakharly, near Agdam, October 14, 2020.

Ankara continues to strongly support Azerbaijani military operations in and around Karabakh. Yerevan claims that the Turks are encouraging Baku to continue the hostilities.

Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army says that 604 of its soldiers have been killed since the start of the war on September 27. Authorities in Stepanakert have also reported the deaths of 32 civilian residents of Karabakh caused by shelling and drone attacks.

RFE/RL correspondent Susan Badalian reported from Stepanakert on Thursday morning that the Karabakh capital was not shelled for a third consecutive night.

Baku has so far refused to disclose the number of Azerbaijani soldiers killed in action. It has only reported 43 civilian deaths.

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