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Russia Blames Azerbaijan for Breach of Karabakh Truce in Post-Ceasefire First

Azerbaijani servicemen in the Dashalta Gorge in Nagorno-Karabakh Gavriil Grigorov / TASS

The Russian military has blamed Azerbaijan for breaching its volatile truce with Armenia for the first time since deploying its peacekeeping mission, South Caucasus media reported Friday.

Moscow has deployed around 2,000 peacekeepers in and around the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh to observe the ceasefire between the arch-enemies reached last November.

Deadly clashes continued around Nagorno-Karabakh in the months since, with Armenia accusing Azerbaijani forces of several intrusions and seizure of new territories.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said Thursday that its peacekeepers had observed one truce violation in the previous 24 hours.

“The Azerbaijani armed forces carried out two strikes using attack-type quadcopters on the position of the Nagorno-Karabakh armed formations,” it said on its website. “There were no casualties.”

The Open Caucasus Media news outlet noted that the statement marked the “first time Russian authorities have explicitly blamed one side for violating the ceasefire” in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Russian Defense Ministry previously described ceasefire breaches in more neutral terms, saying it was sending requests to both parties to respect the truce.

The Kremlin has also cold-shouldered Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s requests for Russian border guards along the Azerbaijani border to prevent further escalation.

Russia has offered to help resolve the Armenian-Azerbaijani disputes by working with the two sides to demarcate the borders.

Nagorno-Karabakh is Azerbaijan’s ethnic Armenian region that broke away from Baku after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

The six-week war last fall that ended in a rout for the Armenian military and sparked mass protests in the country left 6,500 people dead on both sides.

AFP contributed reporting.

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