Armenia, Azerbaijan trade fresh accusations of Karabakh shelling

By Nvard Hovhannisyan and Nailia Bagirova YEREVAN/BAKU (Reuters) - Armenia and Azerbaijan once more accused each other of bombing residential areas on Saturday, in defiance of a pact to avoid the deliberate targeting of civilians in and around the mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Shelling was reported by both sides within hours of the latest agreement to defuse the conflict, reached after talks in Geneva between the two countries' foreign ministers and envoys from France, Russia and the United States.

Reuters November 01, 2020 00:12:12 IST
Armenia, Azerbaijan trade fresh accusations of Karabakh shelling

Armenia Azerbaijan trade fresh accusations of Karabakh shelling

By Nvard Hovhannisyan and Nailia Bagirova

YEREVAN/BAKU (Reuters) - Armenia and Azerbaijan once more accused each other of bombing residential areas on Saturday, in defiance of a pact to avoid the deliberate targeting of civilians in and around the mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Shelling was reported by both sides within hours of the latest agreement to defuse the conflict, reached after talks in Geneva between the two countries' foreign ministers and envoys from France, Russia and the United States.

The agreement with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group fell short of what would have been a fourth ceasefire since fighting began on Sept. 27. The death toll in the worst fighting in the South Caucasus for more than 25 years has surpassed 1,000 and is possibly much higher.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but is populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians. About 30,000 people were killed in a 1991-94 war in the region.

The Nagorno-Karabakh Emergency and Rescue Service said the central market in Stepanakert, the enclave's largest city, had come under fire and that large parts of it had been burned.

Armenia's defence ministry said several civilians had been wounded in attacks on the city of Shushi, 15 km (9 miles) to the south, while the human rights ombudsman in Nagorno-Karabakh said a civilian in Martuni region had died when a shell hit his home.

Azerbaijan's defence ministry denied these accusations. It said that the regions of Terter, Aghdam and Aghjabedi had come under artillery fire, as had Gubadli, a town between the enclave and the Iranian border that was taken by Azeri troops this week.

Azerbaijan's recent advances on the battlefield, which also extends to seven surrounding regions, have reduced its incentive to strike a lasting peace deal and complicated international efforts to broker a truce.

The conflict has also brought into sharp focus the increased influence of Turkey, an ally of Azerbaijan, in a former Soviet region considered by Russia to be within its sphere of influence. Russia also has a security alliance with Armenia.

In response to a request by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to outline the extent of Moscow's support, Russia's Foreign Ministry said it would provide "all assistance required" should the conflict spill onto "the territory of Armenia" - land that is outside the current conflict zone.

Nagorno-Karabakh's army says 1,166 of its soldiers have been killed since Sept. 27. Azerbaijan, which does not disclose its military casualties, updated its civilian death toll to 91. Russia has estimated as many as 5,000 deaths on both sides.

(Reporting by Nailia Bagirova in Baku and Nvard Hovhannisyan in Yerevan; Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; Writing by Robin Paxton; Editing by Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

U.S. data suggest economic recovery may be weakening
Business

U.S. data suggest economic recovery may be weakening

By Howard Schneider WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The explosive surge in U.S. coronavirus cases this fall has left a question hanging: When will the economy take its own turn for the worse

Fed, ECB heads give COVID-19 vaccine cautious welcome
Business

Fed, ECB heads give COVID-19 vaccine cautious welcome

FRANKFURT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The heads of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank welcomed the encouraging results in trials of a vaccine candidate for the novel coronavirus but stressed that the economic outlook will remain uncertain. Fed chair Jay Powell and ECB President Christine Lagarde said the economy was still in for a tough time even if the development of a potential vaccine by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE was reason for some optimism further ahead

India's October fuel demand marks first year-on-year gain in 8 months
Business

India's October fuel demand marks first year-on-year gain in 8 months

By Sumita Layek (Reuters) - India's fuel consumption in October registered its first year-on-year increase since February, as slowing coronavirus cases and increased mobility accelerated an economic recovery, data showed on Thursday.