December 14, 2020 11:32:24 am
Armenia and Azerbaijan blamed each other on Sunday for breaking ceasefire conditions in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The Azerbaijani government said four of its troops were killed in Nagorno-Karabakh after a group of Armenian fighters ambushed its forces on 26 November.
The deaths are the first to be reported during the ceasefire of the conflict, which lasted more than a month.
For its part, Armenia said six separatist fighters were injured in clashes with Azerbaijani troops after fighting erupted on Friday evening.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted in September with clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenian-backed separatists over the mountainous region.
Fighting allegedly ceased on 10 November, thanks to a Russian brokered peace deal that saw the Armenians cede parts of its territory.
More than 5,000 people, including civilians, were killed in clashes between former Soviet rivals who had previously fought in the 1990s over the mountainous region.
Russia has deployed nearly 2,000 peacekeepers to the troubled region for at least five years, to monitor the peace deal and facilitate the return of refugees.
Moscow confirms ceasefire
Responding to Armenian accusations, the Baku government said the clashes over the weekend took place in an area that fell under its control, while its forces conducted a military operation against enemy troops responsible for the deadly attacks on Azerbaijani soldiers.
But Armenia has said its forces are simply repelling tentative intrusions by Azerbaijani forces into territories that are supposed to remain under the control of the rebel province’s government.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry said Russian troops were not present in the area where the clashes erupted.
Azerbaijan’s State Security Service opened fire, saying that “baseless accusations against some Azerbaijani sides and Russian pacifists by some Armenian leaders and media outlets” were unacceptable.
Russia’s Defense Ministry reported that the ceasefire was violated for the first time, but it was silent on charges.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev warned that Armenia “should not try to restart it.” “It must be very careful not to plan military action. This time we will completely destroy them. It shouldn’t be a secret for anyone, “Aliyev said.
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