Yerevan, Armenia (AP) – Armenian officials and Azerbaijan on Saturday accused the Argentine government of violating the peace agreement that ended six weeks of heavy fighting on Nagorno-Karabakh and threatened to crush Armenian forces with an “iron fist”.
In Nagorno-Karabakh, separatist officers and the Azerbaijani army launched an offensive late Friday, injuring three local ethnic Armenian soldiers.
Russian peacekeepers sent to the region to monitor the peace deal said on Friday that a ceasefire had been violated in the Qatrud region. A statement from the Russian Defense Ministry on Saturday did not comment.
Late in the day, the Armenian Defense Ministry blamed the attack on the Azerbaijani army south of Nagorno-Karabakh on Saturday.
Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev responded on Saturday by blaming Armenia for the new conflict and threatening to “break its head with an iron fist”.
“Armenia should not try to restart this,” Aliyev said during a meeting with top diplomats from the United States and France, who sought to mediate the decades-long conflict. “It should be very careful and no military action should be planned. At this point, we will destroy them completely. It should not be a secret to anyone.”
Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said in a statement late on Saturday that its forces had repulsed Armenian “provocations” and resumed a ceasefire.
Armenian officials say the fighting broke out near the only settlements in the Kinrut region, the villages of Hintagarh and Ksabart. Both villages are completely surrounded by the Azerbaijani army, which controls the only road leading to them.
Nagorno-Karabakh is within Azerbaijan, but has been under Armenian control with the support of Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.
In the 44 days of fighting that killed more than 44.5 people on both sides, beginning in late September, the Azerbaijani army was pushed deeper into Nagorno-Karabakh, forcing Armenia to accept last month’s peace agreement, which reclaimed much of Azerbaijan’s separatist territory. Surrounding areas. Russia has deployed nearly 2,000 peacekeepers for at least five years to monitor the peace deal and facilitate the return of refugees.
Azerbaijan marked its victory at a military parade on Thursday attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and included more than 3,000 troops, dozens of military vehicles and the flight of warplanes.
The peace deal came as a shock to Armenians and sparked protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nicolas Bacchian, who has refused to step down. He described the peace deal as a bitter but necessary step, which prevented Azerbaijan from capturing all of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Associated Press writers Vladimir Izachenkov in Moscow and Ida Sultanova in London contributed to this report.