BAKU, (BM) – Twelve people were killed and dozens were injured in a rocket attack by the Armenian army on Azerbaijan’s second largest city, Ganja [population 320,000]. This was announced by the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing news agency Sega.
The attack on the city was carried out around 01:00 a.m. this morning, and at least two rockets hit a residential area. The more powerful – according to the Azerbaijani military, it was a ballistic “Elbrus” (SCUD), exploded behind a school, where there are mostly one-story houses. Now there are only debris. The school building is also damaged, the windows of many buildings around are broken.
Rescuers are clearing the wreckage in search of survivors of the rocket attack. The official data of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan at the moment is about 12 people killed and more than 40 wounded – all from the civilian population of Ganja. “Not less than 20 houses” were destroyed. The town of Mingachevir [86,000 inhabitants] was also reported to have been shelled. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is expected to address the nation.
At the same time, Armenian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan denied Baku’s reports of shelling. “Responding to the statements of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan – no fire was opened on the territory of Azerbaijan from the territory of the Republic of Armenia or by the military forces of the Republic of Armenia,” she wrote on Facebook.
In turn, the representative of the Armenian Ministry of Defense Artsrun Hovhannisyan said that three residents of a village in the Shosh-Askeran region of Karabakh were wounded after artillery attacks by the Azerbaijani army.
“The condition of one of the injured is very serious, the municipality has suffered a lot of material damage. The details are being clarified,” Hovhannisyan added. Two people were also reported injured in the capital of the unrecognized Karabakh republic, Stepanakert, in a new Azerbaijani shelling.
He also announced that Armenian forces had destroyed two enemy drones that had entered Armenia’s airspace. Attempts by Moscow to force the two warring states to start abiding by the ceasefire in Karabakh, agreed during talks between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan and Russia’s first diplomat Sergei Lavrov, continue.
At the initiative of Russia, last night Armenia sent its top military officials to a meeting in Moscow with representatives of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan. Negotiations began this morning.
The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27, active clashes are taking place in the disputed territory. Martial law was introduced in Azerbaijan and Armenia, and mobilization was announced. Both sides reported killed and wounded, including civilians. In Baku, they announced the control of several Karabakh villages and strategic heights. Yerevan also reports about the shelling of the territory of Armenia.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been in conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since February 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan SSR.
During the armed conflict in 1992-1994, the Azerbaijani side lost control of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven areas adjacent to it. Since 1992, negotiations have been conducted within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group on a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is led by co-chairs – Russia, USA and France.
In 1994, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, through the mediation of Russia, signed the Bishkek Armistice Protocol. At the same time, military operations did not stop there, which periodically renewed.
The most significant exacerbation of the conflict was the four-day war of 2016. Then hundreds of soldiers on both sides became victims.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a meeting with the President of Azerbaijan last year, called for a rhetoric that would go against the fundamental principles endorsed by both sides and enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act when resolving the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh. At the same time, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry admitted that much more needs to be done to achieve a long-term political settlement.
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