Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia and Azerbaijan accuse each other of violating new truce

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The ceasefire lasted only a few hours. Azerbaijan and Armenia on Sunday rejected the responsibility for the violation of a new “humanitarian truce” which entered into force at midnight in Nagorny Karabakh, a week after a first ceasefire concluded but never respected.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that Armenian forces had “blatantly broken the new agreement”, denouncing enemy artillery fire and morning attacks along the front line.

Earlier, Armenian Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanian reported Azerbaijani artillery and rocket fire north and south of the front during the three hours after the start of the truce. . The Nagorno-Karabakh army also reported an enemy attack in the morning in the south, reporting “casualties and wounded on both sides”. “But civilian infrastructure and homes were not targeted by gunfire. “

Baku claimed responsibility for the destruction of an Armenian fighter-bomber on Sunday, which Yerevan immediately denied.

Fight “so that this ends forever”

In Stepanakert, the separatist capital, the night was very calm. In the morning, everything was silent, as most residents fled the bombardments since the fighting resumed on September 27. “Our country wants to respect the truce but the others (Editor’s note: the Azerbaijanis) will not. We cannot believe them, ”says Sveta Petrosian, 65, questioned in the deserted streets. His two sons are at the front.

On the Azerbaijani side, relative calm also reigned in the town of Terter, near the front, the bombardments having ceased after 12:30 a.m. Then they resumed from noon for two hours, “but not as hard” as the last few days, says Elchad Rezaïev, a 35-year-old resident. “I don’t know if the ceasefire will last and I don’t care. They killed our women and our children, ”he says, adding that he wants to go and fight“ so that this ends forever ”.

The resumption of fighting three weeks ago left hundreds of people dead. Nagorno Karabakh forces announced the deaths of 40 additional soldiers on Sunday. But the losses are arguably much higher, with each side claiming to have killed thousands of enemies.

A new climb on Saturday

The new truce comes as the head of Russian diplomacy spoke by telephone on Saturday evening with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts. French President Emmanuel Macron for his part “welcomed” the humanitarian truce, adding that the latter had been concluded “following a French mediation” in coordination with the co-presidents of the Minsk group (the United States and Russia).

After a first failed ceasefire attempt under the aegis of Moscow, the conflict escalated again on Saturday. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev has vowed to “avenge” the deaths of thirteen civilians, including children, who perished in a night bombing of Gandja, the country’s second city. Many houses were destroyed by shelling which also left more than 45 injured, according to the attorney general.

The Armenian separatists had noted for their part that Gandja shelters “legitimate targets”, evoking an air base and military sites. A few hours before the strikes on Gandja, shots had targeted the towns of Stepanakert and Choucha in Nagorny Karabakh.

Turkey has accused Yerevan of “war crimes”, while the EU once again called on “all parties to stop targeting civilians”.

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