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Russian Foreign Ministry Says Nagorno Belligerents Still Confirm Ceasefire, But Violence Persists

Russian Foreign Ministry Says Nagorno Belligerents Still Confirm Ceasefire, But Violence Persists
Vladimir Putin, Sergei Lavrov
Image by Kremlin.ru

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared he spoke to both sides in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict today and they both confirm adherence to the ceasefire established at a meeting in Moscow, Russia recently, with the support of Russian mediators.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks by phone with Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts, Jeyhun Bayramov and Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, on Saturday, and in the phone calls both Baku and Yerevan reaffirmed their commitment to ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, reported Russian state news agency TASS.

“In the conversations, the sides reaffirmed their commitment to the agreements on the cessation of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, achieved at the consultations of the three countries’ foreign ministers in Moscow on October 9, and emphasized the necessity of strict compliance with it [the ceasefire] on the ground,” the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.

The town of Terter in Nagorno-Karabakh was shelled late on Saturday by Armenian forces, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan said.

“Starting from 22:30 [local time, 21:30 Moscow time] the armed forces of Armenia have been shelling the city of Terter in blatant breach of the humanitarian ceasefire,” the ministry said in a statement.

In turn, Armenian Defense Ministry Representative Artsrun Hovhannisyan said late on Saturday that the armed forces of Azerbaijan launched a missile attack at several populated areas in Nagorno-Karabakh .

“At present, the enemy is carrying out missile strikes at the towns of Martuni, Shusha and other populated areas,” Hovhannisyan said in a Facebook post.

According to a TASS correspondent in Stepanakert, the capital of the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh was shelled on Saturday evening for the first time since a ceasefire in the region was declared at 11:00 Moscow time. Over 15 explosions and sounds of air raid sirens were heard in the city. Some of those blasts occurred in the nearby town of Shusha.

Russia has a military base in Armenia and shares an Orthodox Christian heritage. However, Moscow has sold weapons to both sides and is loath to open a wider war with Turkey, which is backing Azerbaijan. Russian state-run press has worried out loud about Syrian fighters being injected into the conflict by Turkish President Erdogan.

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