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YEREVAN, April 10. /TASS/. The ceasefire agreement has been "generally observed" on the contact line of the conflicting parties in Nagorno-Karabakh overnight, the Armenian Defense Ministry reported on Sunday.
The ministry said, however, that the Azerbaijani side has used mortars and howitzers in the north. "The enemy used 82-millimeter mortars (two shells fired) and 122-millimeter D-30 howitzers (firing also two shells) in the northern section of the contact line," the statement says. "Advanced units of the Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh continue to observe the ceasefire agreement on and confidently perform their tasks", the ministry said.
The Armenian armed forces "125 times violated the ceasefire regime at different frontline sections" over the past 24 hours on the contact line of the sides of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, the press service of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
According to Defense Ministry data, the Azerbaijani army’s positions located on the border between the two countries and in Nagorno-Karabakh came under fire.
"In accordance with the operational situation, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces made 125 (retaliatory) strikes on the enemy positions and trenches," the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh (Mountainous Karabakh) is a mostly Armenian-populated enclave inside the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. It was the first zone of inter-ethnic tensions and violence to appear on the map of the former USSR.
Even almost a quarter of a century after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Karabakh remains a so-called 'frozen conflict' on the post-Soviet space, as the region is the subject of a dispute between Azerbaijan and the local Armenian population that draws on strong support from fellow-countrymen in neighboring Armenia.
In 1988, hostilities broke out there between the forces reporting to the government in Baku and Armenian residents, which resulted in the region's de facto independence. In 1994 a ceasefire was reached but the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia remain strained ever since then.
Russia, France and the US co-chair the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which attempts to broker an end to hostilities and the conflict.
Overnight to April 2, hostilities erupted on the line disengaging warring sides in Nagorno-Karabakh. Later, the parties to the conflict accused each other of the ceasefire violations.
On April 5, Russia had mediated a meeting between Colonel-General Nadzhmeddin Sadykov, the chief of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces General Staff, and Colonel-General Yuri Khachaturov, the chief of the Armenian Armed Forces General Staff, that took place in Moscow. The sides agreed to cease the hostilities on the line disengaging the Azerbaijani and Armenian troops in Nagorno-Karabakh. The defense ministries of Azerbaijan and Armenia announced a ceasefire on the contact line as of 12:00 (11:00 Moscow time) the same day.