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Armenia, Azerbaijan play blame game over violation of humanitarian ceasefire


Rescue personnel search for survivors at a site hit by a rocket during fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in the city of Ganja, Azerbaijan, on October 11, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to accuse each other of violating a recent humanitarian ceasefire in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijanís Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that Armenian troops had been shelling the Azeri territories of Goranboy, Terter, and Aghdam, "grossly violating the humanitarian truce."

"Azeri armed forces are not violating the humanitarian ceasefire," the ministryís spokesman, Vagif Dargiahly, said.

But Armenian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan denied the accusation, saying Azeri forces had resumed operations after an overnight lull, "supported by active artillery fire in the southern, northern, northeastern, and eastern directions."

The ministry of defense of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic also reported rocket and artillery attacks on its north, south, and northeast on Tuesday morning.

Ethnic Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said on Tuesday that their total military death toll had risen to 542.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijanís Prosecutor Generalís Office said 42 Azeri civilians had been killed and 206 injured since the eruption of the latest fighting. The country has not provided a military casualty toll.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has an Armenian population. The latest fighting over the region began on September 27 and has claimed hundreds of lives. Each side blames the other for instigating the deadliest fighting since 1994.

A ceasefire was reached in the early hours of Saturday between the two sides during talks in Russia.

Despite the Saturday ceasefire, which aimed to allow an exchange of detainees and the collection of bodies from the battlefield, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Tuesday that it had not been able to actually proceed to enforce such an exchange.

"To date, we keep discussing intensely with the sides on this topic. But no meaningful agreement has been reached yet that will allow us to actually proceed to such an exchange," Martin Schuepp, ICRCís Eurasia regional director, said at a press briefing in Geneva, adding that it was passing proposals "back and forth."

He also called for security guarantees to be provided for ICRC staff to handle the operation.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Tuesday reaffirmed that it was "actively engaged in implementing Russiaís initiatives to swiftly stabilize the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh."

The ministry also expressed its concern about the deployment of terrorists from the Middle East region to Karabakh, allegedly by Turkey. It said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had conveyed those concerns to his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, in a phone call on Monday.

Turkey, which strongly backs Azerbaijan in the region and has had historically poor relations with Armenia, is accused of sending Takfiri militants from Syria to operate in Karabakh.

 

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/20826


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