World News – GB – Massive bombing and civilian casualties shatter hopes for a Karabakh ceasefire

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A Russian-brokered ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan was unsuccessful on Sunday, with both sides accusing the other of heavy bombing of civilian areas and an escalation of two weeks of violent clashes

The two sides agreed to suspend hostilities to exchange prisoners and the bodies of those killed during two weeks of fighting in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, an Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan which is home to 150,000 people

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said the night bombing by Armenian forces of the country’s second largest city, Ganja, left at least seven dead and 33 injured, including children, less than 24 hours after the cessation of fighting supposed to take effect

Rescuers wearing red helmets dug through piles of debris with their bare hands looking for traces of survivors, an AFP reporter in the town reported

They recovered an almost naked body and carefully put it in a white bag to be taken to an ambulance while several horrified residents watched and cried

A witness said he was awakened by a huge explosion that razed an entire square block of one and two story houses in the wee hours of the morning, leaving nine apartments in ruins

The truce brokered in Russian-brokered marathon talks in Moscow officially came into effect at noon on Saturday, but both sides almost immediately accused each other of violations

On Sunday, the Karabakh Defense Ministry insisted that Armenian forces respect the humanitarian ceasefire, calling allegations that Armenian forces were responsible for the bombing of Ganja an « absolute lie » and accusing Azerbaijan of bombing areas with civilian populations

Armenian Defense Ministry said on Sunday evening that defenders of the breakaway region respond « resolutely » as Azerbaijani forces « undertake assaults » with « armored vehicles and missiles »

Nagorno-Karabakh leader Arayik Harutyunyan called the situation « calmer » on Sunday, but warned the truce was precarious

EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell said the bloc was « extremely concerned » about « continued military activities, including against civilian targets, as well as civilian casualties »

An AFP journalist in the administrative capital of Stepanakert, which has suffered heavy bombardment since fighting erupted and is pockmarked with deep craters and unexploded ordnance, reported hearing loud explosions throughout of the night

Vahram Poghosyan, spokesman for the leader of Karabakh, said the night bombing of Stepanakert was « a failure to respect the agreements reached in Moscow » and called on the international community to recognize Karabakh independence as a means to put an end to hostilities

Further fighting broke out at the end of last month, following a long disagreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region

The disputed territory broke away from Azerbaijani control in a war in the 1990s that killed some 30,000 people

Its separatist government is strongly supported – but not officially recognized as independent – by Armenia, which like Azerbaijan gained independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991

Fighting feared to cause regional instability As Russia and Iran back Armenia, Turkey maintains linguistic and cultural ties with Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan admitted to using Turkish-made drones in the region, while Middle East Eye reported that Turkey was stationing fighter jets in Azerbaijan

The clashes have heightened concerns over the safety of pipelines transporting Azeri oil and gas to Europe

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Azerbaijan, Armenia, Republic of Artsakh, Nagorno-Karabakh war, ceasefire

News from around the world – GB – Massive bombing and civilian casualties dash hopes of a ceasefire in Karabakh


SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com

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