A new humanitarian ceasefire, brokered by the United States this time, has been violated within hours of coming into force in an attempt to put an end to weeks of heavy fighting in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to Press TV, Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan accused one another of violating the truce that was agreed on Sunday, and came into effect on Monday morning.
Just hours later, Armenian troops began shelling villages in the Terter and Lachin regions, according to Azerbaijan Defense Ministry.
“Units of the Azerbaijani Army are fully adhering, along the entire line of contact, to the humanitarian ceasefire,” the ministry said.
Armenia-backed forces, for their part, accused Azerbaijan of launching a missile attack on its military positions on the north-eastern side on the line of contact.
In the meantime, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan claimed that his country “continues to strictly adhere to the ceasefire regime.”
The truce was announced on Sunday in a joint statement from the US State Department and foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, who were on a visit to Washington over the dispute.
Hikmet Hajiyev, an aide to the Azerbaijani president, however, said Yerevan had violated the current truce as well as the two previous agreements — brokered by Russia.
“Armenia’s goal is to preserve the status quo based on occupation,” he said in a statement. “The Azerbaijani side is exercising restraint.”
The Armenian Defense Ministry also accused Baku of “gross violation of the humanitarian ceasefire.”
It said that “the Azerbaijani side opened artillery fire on positions of Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army] in the north-eastern direction of the contact line.”
Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it is held by ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Armenia since 1992, when they broke from Azerbaijan in a war that killed some 30,000 people.
The conflict re-erupted in late September, becoming the worst fighting in the region in decades.