Armenia announces ceasefire after new border clashes with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh

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There was no word from Azerbaijan about a ceasefire to stop the deadliest exchanges between the countries since 2020.

Russia is the pre-eminent diplomatic power in the region and has 2,000 peacekeepers there. Moscow brokered the deal that ended the 2020 fighting — dubbed the Second Karabakh War — in which hundreds died.

Russian news agencies quoted Armenian Security Council secretary Armen Grigoryan as saying to Armenian television: “Thanks to the involvement of the international community, a ceasefire agreement has been reached.”

According to the announcement, the ceasefire had been in effect for several hours. The Armenian Ministry of Defense had previously said that shooting in border areas had stopped.

Each side blames the other for the new clashes.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had previously told parliament that 105 Armenian soldiers had died since the violence began this week.

Azerbaijan reported 50 military deaths on the first day of fighting. Reuters was unable to verify the accounts of either party.

Grigory Karasin, a senior member of Russia’s upper house, told the RIA news agency that the ceasefire was largely achieved through Russian diplomatic efforts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had spoken with Pashinyan, he said. Putin called for calm following the outbreak of violence and other countries called for restraint on both sides.

In his address to parliament, Pashinyan said his country had called on the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization to help restore its territorial integrity.

“If we say that Azerbaijan has committed aggression against Armenia, it means that they have managed to gain control over some areas,” the Russian agency Tass quoted him as saying.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been fighting for decades over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous enclave recognized as part of Azerbaijan while being home to a large Armenian population.

Fighting first broke out towards the end of the Soviet rule, and Armenian forces took control of large swaths of territory in and around the area in the early 1990s. Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, has largely recaptured those areas in six weeks in 2020.

Regular clashes have erupted since then, despite meetings between Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev aimed at reaching a comprehensive peace settlement.

Domestic discontent in Armenia over the 2020 defeat has sparked repeated protests against Pashinyan, who dismissed reports that he had signed a deal with Baku.

In a Facebook post, he blamed the posts for “informational sabotage led by unfriendly troops.”

A full-blown conflict would risk dragging on Russia and Turkey and destabilizing a key oil and gas pipeline corridor, just as war in Ukraine disrupts energy supplies.

Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovhannisyan said the clashes could escalate into war — a second major armed conflict in the former Soviet Union as the Russian military focuses on Ukraine.

Azerbaijan accused Armenia, which forms a military alliance with Moscow and is home to a Russian military base, of shelling its army units.

Baku said Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov had met Philip Reeker, an adviser to the US State Department, Caucasus, and told him that Armenia must withdraw from Azerbaijani territory.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that Russia could “stir the pot” or use its influence to “calm the waters”.

In a conversation with her colleagues from both countries, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna also called for the “end of the attacks on Armenian territory”.



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