Armenia, Azerbaijan Truce Fails To Hold

Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a Russia-brokered ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting on Saturday, but immediately accused each other of derailing the deal intended to end the worst outbreak of hostilities in the separatist region in more than a quarter of a century.

The two sides traded blame for breaking the truce that took effect at noon (0800 GMT) with new attacks, and Azerbaijan’s top diplomat said the truce never entered force.

The ceasefire announcement came overnight after 10 hours of talks in Moscow sponsored by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

The deal stipulated that the ceasefire should pave the way for talks on settling the conflict.

If the truce holds, it would mark a major diplomatic coup for Russia, which has a security pact with Armenia but also cultivated warm ties with Azerbaijan.

But the agreement was immediately challenged by mutual claims of violations.

Minutes after the truce took force, the Armenian military accused Azerbaijan of shelling the area near the town of Kapan in southeastern Armenia, killing one civilian.

Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry rejected the Armenian accusations as a “provocation”.

The Azerbaijani military, in turn, accused Armenia of striking the Terter and Agdam regions of Azerbaijan with missiles and then attempting to launch offensives in the Agdere-Terter and the Fizuli-Jabrail areas.

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