Armenia announces ceasefire with Azerbaijan after deadly clashes

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By Euronews
Relatives of servicemen wounded in border clashes gather outside a military hospital in Armenia on September 13, 2022.
Relatives of servicemen wounded in border clashes gather outside a military hospital in Armenia on September 13, 2022.   -   Copyright  Karen Minasyan/AFP

Fighting that is claimed to have killed 206 soldiers in two days has halted after a ceasefire was agreed by Armenia and Azerbaijan, according to an Armenian official.

The two countries -- situated on the edge of Europe -- clashed this week in their largest outbreak of hostilities in nearly two years. 

A truce between the sides came into effect from 8 pm on Wednesday, according to Armen Grigoryan, the secretary of Armenia's National Security Council. 

There was no immediate comment from Azerbaijan's government.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have faced off over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region bordering both countries, for more than three decades.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz this week urged the two sides to reach a renewed peace deal.

"This conflict makes no sense. It costs human lives and it must be solved peacefully, with each other, between the two states," he said. 

"The hopeful beginnings, which at least existed, are now of course endangered.

"Nevertheless, we have to work with all our strength, from the side of the European Union, also from the side of our country and many others to make it possible that a peaceful development between the countries becomes possible."

On Wednesday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan claimed the latest violence had killed 105 of its soldiers. He later stated that the death toll had increased to 135.

The Azerbaijan foreign ministry said that 71 of its soldiers were killed and that “definitive retaliatory measures were taken”.

Armenia and Azerbaijan, two rival ex-Soviet republics in the Caucasus, have clashed in two wars over the past three decades for control of the Nagorny Karabakh region, the last of which was in 2020. Both sides have accused each other of violating the ceasefire agreement and launching new shells on Wednesday.

Six weeks of fighting in the autumn of 2020 left more than 6,500 people dead and resulted in a ceasefire brokered by Russia.

As part of the deal, Armenia ceded parts of the territory it had controlled for decades and Moscow deployed some 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce.

Another bloody war in the early 1990s saw thousands killed on both sides and hundreds of thousands of people displaced. That war ended with a truce in 1994.