Armenia and Azerbaijan One agreed RussiaThey blamed each other for the broken ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh on Saturday, but immediately derailed the agreement to end the worst hostilities in the separatist region for more than a quarter of a century.
The two sides traded the fight, which took effect at noon (0800 GMT) with new attacks, and Azerbaijan’s ambassador said the deal had never come into force.
The ceasefire was announced overnight after 10 hours of talks in Moscow, sponsored by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The agreement imposed that the ceasefire should pave the way for negotiations to resolve the conflict.
If there is a fight, it could mean a major diplomatic plot for Russia, which has a security agreement with Armenia, but has developed friendly relations with Azerbaijan. But the deal was immediately challenged by mutual claims of violations.
Within minutes of the fighting, the Armenian army accused the Azerbaijani army of shelling an area near the town of Kaban in southeastern Armenia, killing one civilian. Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense has dismissed the Armenian allegations as “provocative.”
The Azerbaijani army has accused Argentina of launching missile strikes on Tatar and Aktam areas of Azerbaijan and later attempting to carry out attacks in Akter-Tertor and Bisuli-Jabreil. Amid continuing Armenian shelling, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jaihun Peramov accused that “there are currently no conditions for the implementation of a humanitarian ceasefire.”
The Armenian Ministry of Defense has denied any breach of agreement by Armenian forces.
The latest fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began on September 27 and has killed hundreds of people in the largest escalation of the decades-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since the end of a separatist war in 1994. The region is in Azerbaijan, but has been under Armenian control with the support of Armenia.
Since the start of the recent fighting, Armenia has said it is open to a ceasefire, while insisting that the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh must be conditional, arguing that international efforts to negotiate a political solution have failed. There is no other option but to force.
The Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan signed the agreement in Moscow after Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered it in a series of invitations with the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the Prime Minister of Armenia Nicole Pashinyan.
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Russia has joined the US and France in peace talks on Nagorno-Karabakh as co-chairs of the Minsk Group, which operates under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. They made no deal, and Azerbaijan was increasingly excited.
Speaking in the country just hours before the ceasefire agreement was reached, the President of Azerbaijan reiterated his country’s right to forcibly reclaim its territory after nearly three decades of international negotiations. “
Fighting with heavy artillery, fighter jets and drones engulfed Nagorno-Karabakh, with both sides blaming each other for targeting residential areas and civilian infrastructure.
According to the Nagorno-Karabakh army, 404 of its soldiers have been killed since September 27. Azerbaijan did not provide details of its military casualties. Numerous civilians have been killed on both sides.
The current expansion was the first time that Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey held a high position in the conflict, providing strong political support. Over the past few years, Turkey has provided Azerbaijan with sophisticated weapons, including drones and rocket systems, which have helped the Azerbaijani military defeat the Nagorno-Karabakh separatist forces in recent battles.
Armenian officials say Turkey is involved in the conflict and is sending Syrian mercenaries to fight on the side of Azerbaijan. Turkey has refused to stop militants in the area, but a Syrian war watchdog and three Syrian opposition activists have confirmed that Turkey has sent hundreds of Syrian opposition fighters to fight in Nagorno-Karabakh.
In an interview with CNN Arab aired on Thursday, the Azerbaijani president acknowledged that Turkish F-16 fighter jets were staying in Azerbaijan after a joint military exercise, but insisted that they were grounded. Armenian officials have previously said that a Turkish F-16 shot down an Armenian warplane, which Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied.
Turkey’s involvement in the conflict evoked painful memories in Armenia, where 1.5 million people died in massacres, deportations and forced marches. Started in 1915. This event is widely regarded by historians as genocide, but Turkey denies it.
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Turkey’s most visible role in the conflict has worried Russia, which has a military base in Armenia. Russia and Armenia are linked by a security agreement that forces Moscow to provide support to its allies in the event of an occupation.
But at the same time, Russia seeks to maintain strong economic and political ties with oil-rich Azerbaijan and thwart Turkey’s attempt to increase its influence in the South Caucasus without destroying its delicate ties with Ankara.
Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have continued to negotiate agreements and expand their economic ties to consolidate their conflicting interests in Syria and Libya. Last year, NATO member Turkey supplied Russian S-400 air defense missiles, which angered Washington.
The protracted ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh will allow the Kremlin to thwart Turkey’s attempt to expand its influence in Russia’s backyard without destroying its strategic relationship with Ankara.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the agreement was “an important first step, but could not change the lasting solution.”
“From the outset, it underscores that Turkey has always supported only solutions acceptable to Azerbaijan,” it said.
While Turkey wanted to co-chair the Minsk Group talks, a statement issued by Armenia and Azerbaijan pledged to maintain the current format of peace talks.
Speaking on television after the talks, Armenian Foreign Minister Sohrab Manatsakyan stressed that “no other country, especially Turkey, can play a role”.