Azeri, Armenian forces report shelling, ceasefire goes for a toss
BAKU/YEREVAN (AZERBAIJAN/ARMENIA) – With Armenian and Azeri troops reporting shelling and heavy fighting near Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday, the fragile truce is in jeopardy.
Azerbaijan said a missile fired by Armenia aimed at an oil pipeline was neutralised on Sunday, several hours after the ceasefire came into force. However, Yerevan has denied the accusation.
The truce was agreed on Saturday after an earlier agreement brokered by Russia failed to cease hostilities in the South Caucasus, which have left more than 1,000 dead since Sept. 27, the fiercest clashes in the region since the 1990s.
There are fears of a humanitarian crisis and the ties between Turkey, which is strongly supporting Azerbaijan, and its NATO allies, which want an end to hostilities, are further strained.
There is also a risk of Russia, which has a security pact with Armenia, getting involved in the conflict, turning it into a regional war.
Nagorno-Karabakh officials said Azeri troops shelled their positions in northern and southern areas of the de facto frontier.
They said the town of Martuni and four villages were shelled by Azeri forces, a charge which Baku has denied.
On the other hand, Azeri defence ministry said Armenian forces shelled the Agjebedin, Tovuz and Dashkesan regions located away from the conflict area. Yerevan has denied the allegation.