Yerevan and Baku have accused each other of violating a ceasefire recently agreed between the two sides intended to end hostilities in the Caucasus region Nagorno-Karabakh following four days of clashes between the countries.
A statement, released on Thursday by Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, said that Armenian-backed forces had violated the truce in Karabakh 119 times in the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Amenian Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan responded to these accusations as saying that the Azeri troops shelled populated zones and Armenian armed forces’ positions near the town of Vardenis.
“The Azeri armed forces actively shelled Armenian armed forces’ units and populated areas located in the direction of … Vardenis … on April 6. The fire was delivered using various firearms, including large-caliber ones, and also 60mm mortars,” he told Russia’s Interfax news agency on Thursday.
In another statement Russia stated that it will continue to help resolving the conflict between the two countries.
“Certainly, Moscow will carry on its consistent course [towards the Karabakh settlement],” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
The Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan blamed Baku for breaching the truce in Karabakh on Wednesday. On the other hand, his Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, blamed Yerevan for the same reasons, expressing hope that the problem will soon be resolved peacefully.
The violent clash between the two countries occurred on April 1 and ended 4 days later. The two sides agreed on a ceasefire on April 5. In these 4 days both sides claimed casualties, the number of which was reportedly 75 people.
The Karabakh territory is located in the Azerbaijan Republic. However, it is populated by Armenians. The region has been under control of local ethnic Armenian militia and the Armenian troops since a three-year war, which claimed over 30,000 lives, ended between the two sides in 1994 after mediation by Russia.
Last December, the Armenian Defense Ministry said the ceasefire deal was no longer in place, saying the current situation amounted to “war.”
Although the two countries are divided by a buffer zone, both sides frequently accuse one another of violating the ceasefire.