Azerbaijan on Saturday accused Armenia of hanging its second-largest metropolis with a ballistic missile that killed no less than 13 civilians and wounded 50 others in a new escalation of their battle over Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Armenian Defence Ministry denied launching the strike, however the separatist authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh put out a press release itemizing alleged “legitimate” navy services within the metropolis of Ganja, though they stopped wanting claiming accountability for the assault.
Azerbaijani officers mentioned the Soviet-made Scud missile destroyed or broken about 20 residential buildings in Ganja in a single day, and emergency staff spent hours looking out within the rubble for victims and survivors.
Scud missiles date again to the Sixties and carry an enormous load of explosives however are identified for his or her lack of precision.
Strike denounced as warfare crime
In a televised handle to the nation, Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, denounced the missile strike as a warfare crime and warned the management of Armenia that it might face accountability.
“Azerbaijan will give its response and it will do so exclusively on the battlefield,” Aliyev mentioned.
While authorities in each Azerbaijan and Armenia have denied focusing on civilians, residential areas have more and more come underneath shelling amid the hostilities that have raged for 3 weeks, regardless of Russia’s try and dealer a ceasefire.
Nagorno-Karabakh lies inside Azerbaijan however has been underneath the management of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a warfare there led to 1994.
The latest outburst of preventing that started on Sept. 27 has concerned heavy artillery, rockets and drones, marking the biggest escalation of hostilities between the South Caucasus neighbours in additional than a quarter-century.
Stepanakert, the regional capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, got here underneath intense shelling in a single day, leaving three civilians wounded, based on separatist authorities.
Aliyev introduced Saturday that Azerbaijani forces have taken the city of Fizuli and 7 villages round it, gaining a “strategic edge.”
Fizuli is without doubt one of the seven Azerbaijani areas exterior Nagorno-Karabakh that was seized by the Armenian forces throughout the warfare within the early Nineteen Nineties.
Ceasefire deal unravels
Russia, which has a safety pact with Armenia however has cultivated heat ties with Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, hosted top diplomats from each nations for greater than 10 hours of talks that ended with Saturday’s ceasefire deal. But the settlement instantly frayed, with each side blaming every other for breaching it.
Azerbaijani authorities mentioned Saturday that 60 civilians have been killed and 270 have been wounded since Sept. 27, however they have not revealed navy losses. Separatist authorities mentioned greater than 600 Nagorno-Karabakh troopers and over 30 civilians have been killed in three weeks of hostilities.
Azerbaijan has insisted it has the precise to reclaim its land by power after efforts by the so-called Minsk group of worldwide mediators — comprising Russia, the United States and France — didn’t yield any progress after almost three a long time. Azerbaijan has actively pushed for its ally Turkey to take a outstanding function in future peace talks.
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar spoke on the cellphone with his Azerbaijani counterpart, congratulating Azerbaijan on “liberating Fizuli from the occupation” and downing Armenian jets.
WATCH | Rescuers search after lethal rocket assault:
The Azerbaijani navy declared Saturday that it downed an Armenian Su-25 jet, a declare shortly dismissed by Armenia’s Defence Ministry.
The Armenian navy mentioned it downed three Azerbaijani drones over the territory of Armenia on Saturday. Azerbaijan denied that.
Drones and rocket techniques provided by Turkey have given the Azerbaijani navy an edge on the battlefield, serving to outgun the Armenian forces that rely totally on outdated Soviet-era weapons.