Nagorno-Karabakh military officials said Tuesday that 16 more of their servicemen have been killed in fighting, bringing the total number of dead among military members to 532 since Sept. 27, when the fighting started.
Azerbaijan hasn’t disclosed its military losses, and the overall toll is likely to be much higher with both sides regularly claiming to have inflicted significant military casualties on one another.
Azerbaijani authorities said 42 civilians have been killed on their side in over two weeks. Nagorno-Karabakh human rights ombudsman Artak Beglaryan late Monday reported at least 31 civilian deaths in the breakaway region. Hundreds more have been wounded.
The recent fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces broke out on 27 September. More than two weeks of deadly clashes marked the biggest escalation of a decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, which lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.
Both sides have repeatedly accused each other of attacks amid appeals from the around the globe to end the hostilities and start peace talks.
Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers signed a cease-fire deal last week. The truce that took effect Saturday was brokered by Russia, which has a security pact with Armenia. But Moscow also has cultivated warm ties with Azerbaijan and seeks to mediate in the conflict.
The truce, however, has been immediately challenged with both Armenia and Azerbaijan accusing each other of continued attacks in violation of the agreement.
On Tuesday, Azerbaijani officials have once again accused Armenian forces of shelling some of its regions, and Nagorno-Karabakh officials said Azerbaijan launched “large-scale military operations” along the front line.
Russia and the European Union have urged both sides to observe the cease-fire.
Associated Press writers Daria Litvinova in Moscow, and Aida Sultanova in Baku, Azerbaijan, contributed to this report.
Armenia, Azerbaijan agree on cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh
Armenia and Azerbaijan say they have agreed to a cease-fire in Nagorno-Karbakh starting at noon on Saturday.
Top diplomats from the two countries said in a statement that the truce is intended to exchange prisoners and recover the dead, adding that specific details will be agreed on later.
The announcement follows 10 hours of talks in Moscow sponsored by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. Mr Lavrov said the ceasefire should pave way for talks on settling the conflict.
Russia’s top diplomat added that the International Red Cross Committee would act as an intermediary in the humanitarian operation.
He did not provide details on the talks but said the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group would mediate.
Armenian foreign minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and his Azeri counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov did not speak to reporters.
The talks were held on invitation from Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began 27 September and left hundreds of people dead in the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.
Azerbaijan said on Friday that 31 Azeri civilians had been killed and 168 wounded since the start of the recent conflict. It has not disclosed information about military casualties.
Nagorno-Karabakh said 376 of its military personnel and 22 civilians had been killed.