Conflicts & War

Azerbaijan accused of bombing 19th century cathedral

Shusha (Nagorno-Karabakh), Oct 8 (efe-epa).- Armenian officials have accused Azerbaijan’s air force of bombing the main cathedral in the city of Shusha, located in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The attack on Thursday morning injured a Russian journalist and damaged the Armenian Apostolic Ghazanchetsots (Holy Saviour) Cathedral, which was built in the 19th century.

The interior of the religious site is littered with rubble and some of the pews have been destroyed by falling debris, images provided by Armenia’s foreign ministry show.

Just as journalists approached to film the damaged cathedral, there was another attack in which three reporters were injured.

One of those was Russian blogger Yuri Kotenok, who is in a critical condition, according to medical staff.

Eyewitnesses told Efe the bombing was carried out by Azerbaijani planes and drones.

Arayik Harutyunyan, the de facto leader of Nagorno-Karabakh, which has been governed by ethnic Armenians for three decades, said: “Acts of intentional destruction of cultural and religious heritage is an attack on people and their fundamental rights.”

Azerbaijan denied that it was behind the attack, claiming it never targeted religious buildings or historic monuments.

Hundreds have been killed in the fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh region that erupted at the end of September, although verifiable figures are not available.

Russia is pushing for peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which neighbor each other in the south Caucasus region, a Eurasian crossroads.

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