Azerbaijan says it crushed Armenian attack near enclave, EU wants fighting to end

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

Nagorno-Karabakh seceded from Azerbaijan with the support of Armenia after a bloody post-Soviet ethnic conflict in the early 1990s. In 2020, Azerbaijan successfully recaptured part of the separatist-held territory.

Under the terms of a subsequent ceasefire, Russian peacekeepers were deployed to protect the rest of the separatist-held territory. However, both sides accuse each other of wrongdoing and violence has broken out in recent days.

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

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

In response, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said that Azerbaijan had violated the ceasefire by launching an attack on areas controlled by peacekeepers. In a statement, he said Yerevan wanted the international community to “take measures to stop Azerbaijan’s aggressive behavior and actions.”

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

Earlier, the separatist authorities of the ethnically Armenian enclave declared a partial mobilization.

Russia said the situation in areas controlled by its peacekeepers was becoming more 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; edited by Bernadette Baum and Alistair Bell

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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