At least seven people have been killed in overnight Armenian bombardment in Azerbaijan’s second city of Ganja, the Azeri defence ministry said, less than 24 hours after a ceasefire in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory was agreed.
The Russia-brokered truce, put in place after marathon talks in Moscow between both sides, was meant to halt fighting to allow ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azeri forces to swap prisoners and war dead.
But the two sides accused each other of violating the terms of the truce merely minutes after it came into effect.
Armenia’s defence ministry accused Azerbaijan of shelling a settlement inside Armenia, while ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh alleged that Azerbaijan’s forces had launched a new offensive.
Both sides have consistently denied each other’s assertions about military activity.
Here are the latest updates:
Sunday, October 11th 08:00 GMT – No casualties in overnight shelling of Stepanakert
Overnight shelling in the administrative city of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, resulted in no casualties, with residents saying the second day of the ceasefire has been much quieter.
“The ceasefire [was] wobbling heavily overnight but is quieter it seems this morning,” said Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith, speaking from the Armenian town of Goris.
Residents of Stepanakert welcomed the truce, but warned against a temporary fixture.
“A ceasefire is certainly good, but the problem must be solved,” said Boris Grigoryan, a barber.
“You can’t have a ceasefire and several years later, a war again. A ceasefire must solve the problem that is our independence.”
07:40 GMT – Death toll expected to rise in Ganja, says Al Jazeera correspondent
The targeting of a building in Ganja has resulted in the injury of more than 40 people, including at least 10 children, Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu said.
Speaking from the site where seven people have been killed, Koseoglu said the search and rescue teams are digging through the rubble and are expecting to find more bodies.
“The impact of the explosion is very wide,” she said. “We heard from the officials that this is a ballistic missile that hit the area. The diameter of the explosion area from where the missile hit is more than 10 metres deep.”
Ganja and Mingachevir cities have no active artillery units deployed there. No single rocket or bullet was fired from this cities. Yet Armenian army targets them. And somehow they keep hitting only civilian targets.
— Khadija Ismayilova (@Khadija_Ismayil) October 11, 2020
Koseoglu added that the Azeri industrial city of Mingecevir was also targeted by “two ballistic missiles around 4am local time”.
“The ceasefire seems to be totally violated and out of order. Citizens of Azerbaijan are not happy with the ceasefire because they have lost many civilians and military personnel in the conflict.”
06:30 GMT – Armenian shelling leaves seven dead: Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan said on Sunday that shelling by Armenian forces on the country’s second-largest city had left seven people dead, a day after a ceasefire between the two sides had been due to take effect.
A “new nightly missile attack by Armenian forces on (a) residential area of Ganja,” left seven dead and 33 wounded including children, Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
The defence ministry in the breakaway region said Armenian forces were respecting the ceasefire and in turn accused Azerbaijan of shelling civilian areas.
Reports of “Karabakh forces shelling Ganja is an absolute lie”, it added.