The truce defined this Saturday (17th) took effect at midnight, in local time, after a week-long Russian-mediated ceasefire failed to stop the biggest clashes in the South Caucasus since the 1990s.
The Armenian Defense Ministry said on Sunday that the Azeri army fired twice during the night and used artillery. For its part, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan accused Armenia of firing mortars and artillery near the city of Jabrail, in Nagorno-Karabakh, and in villages in the region.
- UNDERSTAND: Clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan involve ancient territorial dispute in the Caucasus; know more
Nagorno-Karabakh officials said Azeri forces attacked military positions in the enclave, resulting in victims.
The truce announced to start on Sunday comes after the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, held telephone conversations with his colleagues in Armenia and Azerbaijan, in which, according to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he emphasized “the need to strictly follow “the ceasefire agreement agreed in Moscow last Saturday.
Neighbor consoles woman who had her house destroyed during attack on Stepanakert, in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, this Saturday (17) – Photo: AP
Hours earlier, the Azerbaijani government reported that 13 civilians were killed and more than 50 injured in the city of Ganja, the country’s second largest, in a bombing blast attributed to Armenia. According to Azerbaijan, two projectiles hit residential buildings. The Armenian government has accused Azerbaijan of continuous bombing in the country.
5 points to understand the clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan
Clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh
The bombing on Saturday was yet another episode of violence after escalating tension between the two countries over of the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh territory, a breakaway region in Azerbaijan, but is mostly ethnic Armenian. The two nations have been in conflict since the end of September over the region. A ceasefire took effect on October 10, but was interrupted by the bombing in Ganja.
The Nagorno-Karabakh region has 140,000 inhabitants, 99% of whom are Armenians. The fighting between separatists and Azeris began on September 27 and since then, according to official accounts, the conflict has left more than 600 dead.
The region declared independence from Azerbaijan just before the fall of the Soviet Union. This movement sparked a war that caused 30,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees from both sides in the 1990s.
Since then, the Azerbaijani government has accused Armenia of occupying its territory and armed clashes are recurrent.
Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Map – Photo: Alexandre Mauro / G1
The current clashes have been the most serious since 1994. After nearly 30 years of diplomatic stalemate, Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Alyev, promised to regain control of this territory, including by force, if necessary.
Armenia is a country with a Christian majority, while Azerbaijan is mostly Muslim. Decades of negotiations, mediated by foreign powers, have never reached a peace treaty.
But the conflict goes beyond the religious issue, taking on geopolitical contours. Turkey, which has close ties to Azerbaijan, said it was “fully ready” to help its ally regain control of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Turkish government accuses Armenia of illegally occupying Azeri territory. Armenia says Turkey has encouraged Azerbaijan to seek a military solution to the conflict, putting Armenian civilians in danger.
Russia, for its part, has stable relations with both, but it is an important ally of Armenia and maintains a military base there.
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