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

BAKU, Aug 3 (Reuters) – Azerbaijan said on Wednesday its forces crushed an Armenian attack near the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, prompting international calls for an end to fighting in a region that is a hotspot 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 managed to regain part of the territory controlled by the separatists.

Under the terms of a subsequent ceasefire, Russian peacekeepers were deployed to protect the rest of the separatist-held territory. Both sides accuse each other of violations and in recent days violence has erupted.

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The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said Armenia seriously violated the ceasefire by committing an act of sabotage that killed a soldier. Additionally, Baku said its forces repelled 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 injured,” 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 Azerbaijan violated the ceasefire by launching an attack in areas controlled by peacekeepers. In a statement, he said that Yerevan wants the international community “to take steps to put an end to 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, separatist authorities in the ethnically Armenian enclave declared 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, writing by David Ljunggren; edited by Bernadette Baum and Alistair Bell

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