The aim of the ceasefire was to allow the ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno Karabakh and the Azerbaijani forces to exchange prisoners of war and war dead. The truce was achieved after lengthy talks in Moscow called by President Vladimir Putin.
The Moscow talks were the first diplomatic contact between the two sides since the outbreak of fighting on September 27. The region is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but its inhabitants and rulers belong to the Armenian race.
Both sides accused the other of violating the ceasefire immediately after it took effect on Saturday, and Azerbaijan gave the impression in public statements by senior officials that it considered it a short, temporary truce.
On Sunday, Azerbaijan accused Armenia of violently bombing a residential area in Ganga II, its largest city, in the early hours of the morning, and injuring an apartment building.
The Prosecutor’s Office said that five people were killed and 28 wounded in the attack, which it said violated the provisions of the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians.
The Armenian Ministry of Defense described these accusations as “lies” and accused Azerbaijan of continuing to bomb residential areas in the region.
The Armenian leader confirmed to the separatist Karabakh region on Sunday that the situation is “quieter” than the previous day on the battlefront between his forces and the Azeri forces, on the second day of a fragile truce.
“Sunday, we all noted that, there was no cease-fire,” separatist President Arayk Harutyunyan told a press conference, Stepanakert, the capital of the region. It seems that since this morning the situation is much calmer, but that could change quickly. ”
“At the moment, there is no bombing going on. There is an exchange of some shots and mortar shells on the front line … We will see how long that will last. We don’t know how the day will pass, ”while Stepanakert was targeted by no less than three rounds of bombing during the night.
Azerbaijan, which has the support of Turkey, has warned that its military operations will not stop completely unless the Armenians withdraw from Karabakh.
There are concerns that the conflict will be internationalized, as Ankara encourages Baku to attack and Moscow is bound by a military treaty with Yerevan.
Turkey is also accused of sending fighters loyal to it from Syria to fight with the Azerbaijanis, which Baku denies.
In an interview published Sunday in Russia, the Azerbaijani president considered that Ankara “should play an increasing role in the region and in resolving the conflict.”
Karabakh province, the majority of which are Armenians, separated from Azerbaijan after a war in the early 1990s, which left 30,000 people dead. Since then, Baku has accused Yerevan of occupying its land, and there are regular rounds of violence.
The battles in which the Karabakh forces, backed by Yerevan and the Azerbaijani forces, have been facing since September 27, are the most dangerous since the ceasefire declared in 1994.
It was counted that more than 500 people were killed in recent battles, including nearly sixty civilians, in a toll that may in fact be much greater, as Azerbaijan does not announce the number of deaths among its soldiers and every camp claims to have killed thousands of soldiers from the opposite camp.
The reality on the ground is still unclear, as each camp categorically denies the progress the other camp claims has made. Azerbaijan asserts that it has taken control of a large number of villages, while Nagorno Karabakh forces say they are repelling the Azerbaijani army.