STEPANAKERT — Armenia accused Azerbaijan on Saturday of continuing offensive military operations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone despite the entry into force of a Russian-mediated ceasefire agreement reached by the two sides overnight.
The agreement reached during marathon talks held by the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers in Moscow was due to take effect at noon.
The Armenian Defense Ministry spokeswoman, Shushan Stepanyan, said Azerbaijani forces started attacking Karabakh Armenian army positions at a southern section of the “line of contact” at 12:05 local time. She said the Karabakh Armenian army is “taking appropriate measures to repel the enemy attack.”
The army command announced shortly before that it has ordered its troops to cease fire in line with the Moscow agreement.
The Karabakh Defense Army said at around 3 p.m. that its troops are now trying to “surround and destroy” an Azerbaijani commando squad that launched an incursion towards the southern Karabakh town of Hadrut. “The situation at other sections of the frontline is relatively calm,” it said in a statement.
A mother and her son with disability were killed during the attack on Hatrut.
Earlier on Saturday, the Armenian side reported fierce fighting at another southern section of the Karabakh frontline close to Iran. Stepanyan said Azerbaijani troops are trying to make last-minute territorial gains before the anticipated ceasefire. She said they are heavily using combat drones but Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army is “repelling all enemy attacks.”
Meanwhile, reports from Stepanakert said Karabakh’s capital again came under rocket fire in the morning. RFE/RL Armenian Service correspondent Naira Nalbandyan reported from the city that the shelling stopped by noon.
Also, the Armenian Defense Ministry reported an Azerbaijani drone strike on a village in Armenia’s Syunik province bordering Iran. It said one person was killed as a result.
Later in the afternoon, the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Anna Naghdalyan, said efforts are being made through “all diplomatic channels” to implement the ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia. She gave no details.