“It’s now clear that once again it has not proved possible to implement a ceasefire [agreement,]” Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said in a video address to the nation aired in the evening. “I cannot say at this point what the reaction of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries [the U.S., Russia and France] and their presidents will be. But you must know that the Armenian side has done everything to adhere to the ceasefire.”
“I hope that official representatives of the U.S. will answer these questions. Have they clarified as a result of whose actions the ceasefire has been violated? If so, what consequences will there be for the party that has violated it?” he said.
Pashinian charged that Azerbaijan is continuing its offensive military operations in the conflict zone because it wants to force Armenia and Karabakh to capitulate. The Armenian side has been “maximally flexible” in negotiations mediated by the U.S., Russia and France and prepared to agree to a “painful” compromise-based solution to the Karabakh conflict, he said, adding that it now has no choice but to continue fighting against the “Azerbaijani aggression.”
The conflicting parties began accusing each other of ceasefire violations shortly after the U.S.-brokered agreement went into force at 8 a.m. local time.
The Armenian Defense Ministry said early in the afternoon that Azerbaijani forces have launched an assault on frontline positions of Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army in southeastern Karabakh. It reported heavy fighting there in the following hours.
“Starting from 5 p.m. the intensity of fire along the border of Artsakh (Karabakh) has sharply increased,” a ministry spokeswoman, Shushan Stepanian, wrote on Facebook. She said the Azerbaijani army is using heavy artillery and tanks against Karabakh positions and civilian areas.
Speaking in the morning, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said he has ordered his troops to show “restraint” despite what he described as Armenian “provocations” on the frontlines.
Aliyev also hit out at the U.S., Russian and French mediators, saying that they are now trying to “save Armenia.” “If they want a ceasefire then let them tell Armenia to leave our lands,” he said in televised remarks. “If that doesn’t happen we will go till the end.”