Azerbaijan says it crushed Armenia’s attack near enclave, EU wants fighting to end

BAKU, Aug. 3 (Reuters) – Azerbaijan said its forces repulsed an Armenian attack near the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday, sparking international calls to end fighting in a region has been a focal point for 30 years.

Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan with Armenian support after a bloody post-Soviet ethnic conflict in the early 1990s. In 2020, Azerbaijan successfully reclaimed part of the separatist-controlled territory.

Under the terms of a subsequent ceasefire, Russian peacekeepers were deployed to protect the rest of the separatist-occupied territory. However, both sides accuse each other of violations and violence has flared up in recent days.

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Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said Armenia had grossly violated the ceasefire by committing an act of sabotage that killed a soldier. In addition, Baku said his forces repulsed an Armenian attempt to take a hill in an area controlled by Russian peacekeepers.

“As a result, those fighting for the illegal Armenian armed formations were killed and injured,” it said in a statement, demanding that all Armenian troops withdraw from the area and promising “crushing” countermeasures if necessary.

In response, the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Azerbaijan had violated the ceasefire by launching an attack in areas controlled by the peacekeepers. In a statement, Yerevan said the international community would “take steps to halt Azerbaijan’s aggressive behavior and actions”.

The European Union called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and said that both sides must respect the ceasefire, a call echoed by the Polish president of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Earlier, separatist authorities in the ethnic Armenian enclave announced a partial mobilization.

Russia said the situation in areas controlled by its peacekeepers was becoming increasingly tense and reported at least one ceasefire violation by Azeri forces, Interfax said.

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Reporting by Nailia Bagirova, written by David Ljunggren; adaptation by Bernadette Baum and Alistair Bell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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