Two Armenian soldiers killed in Karabakh despite truce
YEREVAN – Agence France-Presse
An Armenian man holds a placard reading "Hands off Karabakh" as he takes part in a rally in Yerevan on April 21, 2016 - AFP photoTwo ethnic Armenian soldiers have been killed in a new upsurge in fighting between Azerbaijani forces and separatists from the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the separatists said on April 26.
“On the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Karabakh forces, the enemy violated a ceasefire 80 times using all types of artillery and armored vehicles,” said the defense ministry of the breakaway region, claiming it had also inflicted casualties on Azerbaijani forces.
A spokesman for Azerbaijan’s defense ministry, Vagif Dyargakhly, said however that no one from his country had died.
He said that Armenian forces had attacked the Azeri town of Terter and the village of Gapanly in the early hours of April 26, using mortars, howitzers and multiple rocket launchers and that Azerbaijan had to retaliate by attacking the enemy’s positions.
“In the future the military and political leadership of Armenia will be responsible for any event that happens on the frontline,” Dyargakhly added.
Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a war over the mountainous territory, with a population of mostly ethnic Armenians, in the early 1990s, during which thousands were killed on both sides, and hundreds of thousands were displaced.
The region was seized by Armenian rebels from Azerbaijan in a war which ended with an inconclusive truce in 1994. The territory is now ruled by Armenia-backed separatist authorities who claim independence and are backed by Yerevan but are not recognized by any state.
Earlier this month, more than 100 people died in the worst violence to hit Nagorno-Karabakh since the inconclusive ceasefire deal in 1994 halted a war that left some 30,000 people dead.
A Moscow-mediated truce went into effect earlier this month but clashes have continued since then.
The latest surge in violence sparked fears that a wider conflict in the key strategic region could drag in regional powers Russia and Turkey, which are at loggerheads after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet on Nov. 24, 2015 due to airspace violation.