Armenian officials report new clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh


PTI, Dec 13, 2020, 3:36 PM IST

Yerevan: Armenian officials on Saturday accused Azerbaijan of breaching a peace deal that ended six weeks of fierce fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Separatist officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said the Azerbaijani military launched an attack late Friday that left three local ethnic Armenian servicemen wounded.

Russian peacekeepers deployed to the region to monitor the peace deal reported a violation of the ceasefire in the Gadrut region on Friday. The report issued Saturday by the Russian Defense Ministry didn’t assign blame.

Later in the day, the Armenian Defense Ministry also charged that the Azerbaijani army mounted an attack in the south of Nagorno-Karabakh on Saturday.

Azerbaijani authorities had no immediate comment to the Armenian statements claiming the first significant breaches of the peace deal brokered by Russia on November 10 that saw Azerbaijan reclaim control over broad swathes of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding lands which were held by Armenian forces for more than a quarter-century.

Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but was under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994. That war left Nagorno-Karabakh itself and substantial surrounding territory in Armenian hands.

In 44 days of fighting that began in late September and left more than 5,600 people killed on both sides, the Azerbaijani army pushed deep into Nagorno-Karabakh, forcing Armenia to accept last month’s peace deal that saw Azerbaijan reclaim much of the separatist region along with surrounding areas.

Azerbaijan marked its victory with a military parade on Thursday that was attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and involved more than 3,000 troops, dozens of military vehicles, and a flyby of combat aircraft.

The peace deal was a major shock for Armenians, triggering protests calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikola Pashinyan, who has refused to step down. He described the peace agreement as a bitter but necessary move that prevented Azerbaijan from taking over all of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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