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BAKU, April 22. /TASS/. The defense ministries of Azerbaijan and Armenia have published statements accusing one another of ceasefire violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
According to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, the Armenian armed forces have "violated the ceasefire on various parts of the frontline 143 times over the past 24 hours using, in particular, 60-mm mortars."
According to it, the Armenian side shelled the Azerbaijani army positions located in populated localities and on the hills along the border between the two countries as well as in Nagorno-Karabakh. "In accordance with the operational situation, the Azerbaijani armed forces carried out 146 fire attacks on the enemy positions and trench lines," the ministry said.
As for Armenia's claims, the country's defense ministry says Azerbaijan breached the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh about 70 times last night.
"The Azerbaijani side shelled the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan 27 times overnight on April 22. It used small arms and sniper weapons of various calibers for the most part firing indiscriminately at the frontier positions" of the Armenian army, the ministry said. "In addition to that, the enemy used 60-mm and 82-mm mortars (firing 6 and 3 rounds respectively) and AGS-17 grenade launchers (2 shots)."
"Showing restraint, the advanced units of the Armenian armed forces resorted to retaliatory steps only in the worst extremity and are confidently controlling the situation along the border," the mnistry said.
"The operational situation on the line of engagement between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh remained unchanged last night," the ministry said. "Along the entire length of the frontline the enemy violated the ceasefire agreement nearly 70 times. The Azerbaijani troops delivered fire using small arms of various calibers."
"In the south-eastern, Hadrut direction the Azerbaijani side used the RPG-7 grenade launcher (1 shot) in addition to small arms, in the north-western, Martakert direction - the ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft mount (1shot)," the ministry said.
"The advanced units of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army are controlling the operational and tactical situation along the contact line with Azerbaijan and continue to be on combat alert duty," the ministry said.
The situation along the line of engagement of the conflicting parties in Nagorno-Karabakh deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2. Following fierce armed clashes at the contact line, the parties to the conflict accused each other of violating truce.
On April 5, Russia 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. Ever since, the parties occasionally report brief exchanges of fire along the contact line.