YEREVAN, Armenia — Despite another effort at a cease-fire, Armenia and Azerbaijan traded accusations Sunday of breaking up the new truce in their damaging battle over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The most recent truce, that was declared Saturday and took power at midnight, was the next effort to set up a cease-fire since heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces broke out in Nagorno-Karabakh on Sept. 27. The fighting and shelling has murdered countless people — both combatants and civilians — and marks the largest escalation of a decades-old battle over the area in over a quarter-century.
Additionally, it raises the specter of a larger battle that may draw in Russia and Turkey and endanger Caspian Sea energy exports.
In the early hours,” the enemy launched an assault at the southern route,” and there were”casualties and injured on each side,” Armenian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanian said.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, in turn, claimed that Armenian forces used mortars and artillery from the battle zone immediately regardless of the cease-fire and in the daytime tried strikes in several directions. The ministry accused Armenia of utilizing large-caliber weapons to attack the ranks of the Azerbaijani military in two areas north of Nagorno-Karabakh across the boundary, a claim Armenian army officials refused.
The Azerbaijani army also said that it instills an Armenian Su-25 warplane” trying to inflict airstrikes about the ranks of the Azerbaijan military in the Jabrayil leadership,” however Stepanian ignored the announcement as false.
Nagorno-Karabakh lies in Azerbaijan but was under the management of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia because a war there ended in 1994.
By Nagorno-Karabakh officials, 673 of the servicemen are killed in the renewed fighting. Azerbaijan has not revealed its army declines but claims 60 civilians have died so far and 270 have been hurt.
Turkey has endorsed oil-rich Azerbaijan from the battle and pledged to assist it to recover its land.
Russia, with a security pact with Armenia but has cultivated warm ties with Azerbaijan, hosted leading diplomats from the countries a week for 10 or more hours of discussions that ended with the first cease-fire arrangement.
The new cease-fire arrangement was announced a week later on Saturday, after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s calls along with his counterparts from Armenia and Azerbaijan, where he urged them to comply with the Moscow deal.
But a few hours following the truce took induce at midnight, the two sides began accusing each other of breaking the arrangement.
Afterward Sunday, Armenia and Azerbaijan reiterated their responsibilities into the cease-fire in statements issued with their foreign ministries and blamed for those breaches on every other.
Yerevan”will continue to take all necessary steps to impose peace on Azerbaijan and set a cease-fire regime that will involve precise and effective mechanisms for preserving and affirming it,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry stated.
In another announcement, Armenia explained the Azerbaijani authorities in Baku” categorically rejected” an endeavor to achieve an agreement on withdrawing injured soldiers from the battle through mediation from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Azerbaijani police said that they were ready to deliver the bodies of Armenian servicemen into Armenia through mediation from the ICRC and also an undercover border corridor” in the direction of their Tovuz area” Officials did not explain how many bodies which involved.