Russia accuses Azerbaijan of breaking Karabakh ceasefire

Russia on Wednesday accused Azerbaijan of breaking a ceasefire over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region after three soldiers died in clashes with what Baku called “illegal Armenian armed groups”.

Six weeks of fighting in the region in the fall of 2020 left more than 6,500 dead and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement.

The Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that the Azerbaijani armed forces had violated the ceasefire and were “taking steps to stabilize the situation” with Armenian and Azerbaijani representatives.

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry earlier said Karabakh troops killed one of its soldiers in an attack in Lachin district, blaming Armenia for the “bloody incident”.

The Azerbaijani army later said that it seized several strategic heights in the region in a retaliatory operation against “terrorist actions of illegal Armenian armed groups in the territory of Azerbaijan”.

The small breakaway state’s army has accused Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire, killing two soldiers and injuring 14 others.

Armenia and Azerbaijan, sworn enemies, fought two wars – in 2020 and in the 1990s – in the Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh, populated by Armenians.

Armenia ceded swaths of territory it had controlled for decades and Russia deployed some 2,000 peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce, but tensions persist despite a ceasefire agreement.

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