Armenia and Azerbaijan exchange accusations of violating the ceasefire

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Baku (AFP)

Armenia and Azerbaijan exchanged accusations of violating the ceasefire aimed at ending the fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, shortly after it came into effect on Monday.

And the US State Department announced earlier that Armenia and Azerbaijan had agreed to respect a “humanitarian ceasefire” in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, after two previous attempts to stop the bloodshed in the disputed region failed.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said that the Armenian forces bombed the town of Tartar and neighboring villages in a “grave violation” of the truce announced by Washington on Sunday and was scheduled to start at 8:00 local time (04:00 GMT).

In turn, the Armenian Ministry of Defense said that the Azerbaijani forces committed a “serious violation” of the ceasefire as well by targeting the positions of fighters in different areas on the front lines with artillery fire.

Armenian President Nikol Pashinyan stressed on Facebook that his country “continues to fully adhere to the ceasefire.”

A spokesman for the separatist leader in Karabakh Fahram Boghossian said, “The Azerbaijani side crudely violated the humanitarian ceasefire agreement for the third time.”

“Our mission today is to defend our land … they did not leave us with a choice,” he added in statements on social media.

Hikmat Hajiyev, an aide to the Azerbaijani president, said that it was Armenia that violated the current ceasefire agreement as well as the two previous ones.

“The aim of Armenia is to maintain the status quo based on occupation. The Azerbaijani side exercises restraint,” he said in a statement.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been involved in a struggle for control of Karabakh since Armenian separatists supported by Yerevan seized the mountainous region during a war in the 1990s that killed 30,000 people.

The current conflict broke out on 27 September. Armenia and Azerbaijan exchange accusations of targeting civilians and violating previous ceasefire agreements.

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