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Iran Press TV

Russia ready to provide Armenia with 'all necessary help' as Karabakh 4th truce falls apart

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 31 October 2020 4:35 PM

Russia says it will provide Armenia with "all necessary assistance," as a fourth ceasefire attempt falls apart, with the two sides accusing one another of bombing residential areas in and around the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Just within hours of reaching an agreement to cease shelling of residential areas, Yerevan and Baku accused each other of deliberate attacks on civilians.

Spokeswoman for the Armenian defense ministry Shushan Stepanyan said Saturday that several civilians were wounded in attacks on the city of Shushi, in Karabakh.

Azerbaijan's defense ministry, however, denied the allegations.

The ministry said the Azeri regions of Terter, Aghdam and Aghjabedi had come under artillery fire.

The bombings came in violation of the latest ceasefire agreement negotiated in Geneva via the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), on Friday

After six-hour talks, involving both countries' foreign ministers and envoys from France, Russia and the United States, the warring sides pledged not to target civilians and to provide lists of soldiers detained for potential exchanges.

Armenia formally requests Russia's help

In the meantime, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sent a formal request to Russian President Vladimir Putin "to begin urgent consultations for military assistance, said Armenia's foreign ministry.

The call, which is expected to further escalate the conflict in the region, is the first such request under a mutual defense and security assistance pact that was signed between Armenia and Russia in 1997.

In his letter to Putin, Pashinyan said that hostilities were getting closer to Armenia's borders.

He also claimed that Azerbaijan's ally, Turkey was backing Baku in the fighting, detailing to Putin "the Azerbaijani-Turkish military aggression and the challenges it has caused."

Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but it is held by ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Yerevan since 1992, when they broke from Azerbaijan in a war that killed some 30,000 people.

The conflict re-erupted in late September, becoming the worst fighting in the region in decades.

Following the flare-up, Russia brokered two ceasefires to bring an end to the deadly conflict, but its efforts to bring peace to the mountainous region failed as Yerevan and Baku continued to violate the agreements.

Russia, a close ally to Armenia, said earlier that it is open to the return of the occupied lands to Baku.

A return to Azerbaijan of the surrounding territories was first agreed in 2007, under the so-called Madrid Principles, in exchange for a self-proclaimed government of Karabakh with a corridor linking the region to Armenia.

But Baku said Yerevan failed to engage in talks over implementing those principles. Baku also said it wants the return of all the land occupied by Armenia.

The monthlong conflict has so far claimed more than 1,200 lives, according to officilas.

But the actual fatalities on both sides is thought to be substantially higher.

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