Armenia and Azerbaijan have announced a new attempt to establish a cease-fire in their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh starting from Sunday midnight. It comes a week after a Russia-brokered truce frayed immediately after it took force. The two sides trade blame for breaching that deal.
“The Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia have agreed to a humanitarian truce as of October 18th, 00h00 local time [2000 GMT],” Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement earlier on Saturday. “This decision was taken following the statement of the Presidents of the French Republic, the Russian Federation and the United States of America, representing the co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group of 1 October 2020, the Statement by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group of 5 October, and in line with Moscow Statement of 10 October 2020,” it added.
The new agreement was announced by the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers following phone calls between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his counterparts. Lavrov strongly urged the countries to abide by the Moscow deal.
On October 10, Baku and Yerevan agreed to a cease-fire starting on midday to allow an exchange of prisoners and the recovery of dead bodies in Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized Azerbaijani territory under Armenia's occupation.
Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan, but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. The latest fighting that began on September 27 has involved heavy artillery, rockets and drones, killing hundreds in the largest escalation of hostilities between the South Caucasus neighbors in more than a quarter-century.
Meanwhile, At least 13 civilians were killed, including four women and three minors, and nearly 50 others injured, when Armenian missiles struck Ganja early on Saturday.