By Oisin Sweeney • 13 December 2020 • 21:58
ARMENIA and Azerbaijan have continued armed clashes in the disputed Nargorno-Karabakh region just weeks after signing a ceasefire agreement.
Both former USSR states agreed to a ceasefire tabled by Russia, after a brief and bloody war that began in September and has claimed the lives of 143 civilians and thousands of soldiers. Analysts believe the agreement was seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, who have bitterly disputed the Nagorno-Karabakh region for decades.
Most recently Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry announced that 4 of their troops had been killed, while Armenia said 6 of their soldiers had been wounded by an Azeri offensive. This recent spark of violence has led many observers to fear a full return to fighting that has already displaced thousands of civilians in the Caucasus region, a mountainous area bridging Europe and western Asia.
Since the end of a brutal war in the early 1990s neither country has ever managed to fully make peace with one another, as ethnic Armenians rule the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Since signing the recent peace agreement, Armenia has promised to withdraw troops from 3 key areas while Azerbaijan managed to secure the region’s second city of Shusha. Over 2000 Russian peacekeeping troops have also been deployed to the conflict zone.
Armenia’s President Nikol Pashinyan said the deal was “incredibly painful” to sign “both for me and for our people”. Global security analysts will be watching the coming days and weeks closely to see if a return to brutal warfare is imminent in the tinderbox region.
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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...
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