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Fighting Reported In Karabakh Conflict Zone After Another Truce Accord


NAGORNO-KARABAKH -- Members of the Karabakh Ministry of Emergency Situations search for unexploded cluster bombs on the outskirts of Stepanakert, October 20, 2020

Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each of violating a U.S.-brokered ceasefire agreement following its entry into force on Monday morning.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said Azerbaijani forces shelled frontline positions of Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army in northeastern and southeastern Karabakh.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said, for its part, that its troops came under Armenian artillery fire at several sections of the “line of contact” around Karabakh.” It claimed that Armenian forces also shelled Azerbaijani residential areas northeast of Karabakh.

“The Azerbaijani side is demonstrating restraint,” a senior aide to Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev told the RIA Novosti news agency.

The Karabakh Armenian army strongly denied violating the truce, saying that Baku is “preparing ground for further provocations” with claims to the contrary.

“The Armenian side continues to strictly adhere to the ceasefire regime,” Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian wrote on Facebook about two hours after the truce agreement took effect at 8 a.m. local time.

“Despite some provocations, the ceasefire is largely holding,” Pashinian wrote at midday.

Two hours later, the Karabakh Defense Army said that Azerbaijani troops have launched an attack on its frontline positions in southeastern Karabakh. It said its forces are now trying to repel the attack.

The truce agreement was announced late on Sunday following a series of talks held by the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in Washington with top U.S. officials and American, Russian and French diplomats co-heading the OSCE Minsk Group.

In a late-night tweet, U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated Pashinian and Aliyev on the deal.

Russia and France already brokered similar Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire agreements on October 10 and October 17 respectively. They did not stop hostilities in and around Karabakh, with the warring sides accusing each other of not respecting it.

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