Armenia and Azerbaijan violate peace agreement after six weeks of fighting over disputed territory.
Fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia continued on Sunday in the Nagorno-Karabakh secession area, in defiance of the November ceasefire that ended the bloody conflict.
Azerbaijan’s defense ministry says four of its soldiers have been killed in an attack on areas adjacent to the Nagorno-Karabakh region, while officials in Armenia say six of their troops have been wounded.
Armenia and Azerbaijan blamed the deal on Saturday, ending six weeks of fierce fighting over disputed territory, with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev threatening to crush Armenian forces with an “iron fist”.
“Armenia should not try to restart this,” Aliyev said during a meeting with top diplomats from the United States and France, who sought to mediate the decades-long conflict.
“It must be very careful and no military action is planned. At this point, we will destroy them completely. It should not be a secret to anyone.”
Earlier on Saturday, Nagorno-Karabakh forces said three of their fighters had been wounded in an attack by Azerbaijani forces.
The Armenian army also said that two villages under the control of the Nagorno-Karabakh forces had been attacked from Azerbaijan.
Attempts to infiltrate areas where the rebels were supposed to be under the control of the provincial government were thwarted by Armenian forces, namely the villages of Hint Dakar and Kshapart.
“Azerbaijan’s provocations continue today in the direction of the villages of Metz Shen and Hin Shen in the Hadrut region,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
In another statement, the Armenian Defense Ministry said: “Negotiations between Armenian, Russian and Azerbaijani soldiers are underway to resolve the situation in Hadrut and to ensure that the parties return to their former positions.”
A spokesman for the Russian peacekeeping force confirmed the “exchange of fire with automatic weapons” and told the Ria Novosti newspaper that demands had been sent to both parties to respect the ceasefire.
A statement from the Russian Defense Ministry said: “A case of ceasefire violation has been reported in the Hadrut district on December 11.
Russia has peacekeepers in the region, most of whom were recaptured by Azerbaijan last month after being captured by Armenian forces for more than a quarter of a century.
This is Russia’s first report of a breach of the peace agreement reached on November 10.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but has a population that was completely controlled by the Armenians after a bloody war in the 1990s, when they occupied the outlying areas belonging to Azerbaijan.
In a 44-day battle that killed more than 44.0 people on both sides, beginning in late September, the Azerbaijani army was pushed deeper into Nagorno-Karabakh, forcing Armenia to accept last month’s peace deal, and Azerbaijan reclaimed significant territory.
Russia has deployed nearly 2,000 peacekeepers for at least five years to monitor the peace deal and facilitate the return of refugees.
Azerbaijan marked its victory at a military parade on Thursday attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and included more than 3,000 troops, dozens of military vehicles and the flight of warplanes.