Nagorno-Karabakh capital shelled as fighting nears 2nd week
Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh (efe-epa).- Azerbaijani artillery fire struck the capital city of the Nagorno-Karabakh on Sunday a week after fighting erupted over the disputed territory, authorities said.
Azerbaijan’s government has also accused Armenian forces of striking civilian targets.
The defense ministry in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is de facto governed by ethnic Armenian separatists, said: “The enemy continues to target peaceful settlements, including the capital Stepanakert, with weapons prohibited by international humanitarian law.
“The entire responsibility for raising the tension in the conflict zone by one degree falls on the Azerbaijani side.”
The ministry said Nagorno-Karabakh forces had struck Azerbaijani military facilities in response.
Azerbaijan’s defense ministry said Armenian shells had struck the airport in Ganja, the second-largest city in Azerbaijan after the capital Baku.
It also said Armenian forces had used heavy weaponry to strike the cities of Tartar and Horadiz, the latter being near the border with Iran.
The fighting has prompted fears of potential large-scale conflict in the Caucasus region, a Eurasian crossroads border by Turkey, Iran and Russia.
Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday spoke with Armenia’s prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and reiterated calls for a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Russia, the United States and France, co-chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group created to put an end to fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1990s, called for a ceasefire earlier in the week.