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Azerbaijan says Nagorno-Karabakh settlements come under shelling

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry warned that its units would take "adequate measures"

MOSCOW, October 18. /TASS/. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry on Sunday declared an artillery and mortar shelling carried out by Armenia in several settlements around Nagorno-Karabakh after a humanitarian ceasefire entered into effect.

"Despite the declared ceasefire from 00:00 on October 18 for humanitarian goals, Armenia’s Armed Forces once again grossly violated the agreement. At night the enemy opened mortar and artillery shellings in the outskirts of Jabrayil and also villages liberated from occupation, which are located along Araxes River in this area. There are no casualties among the personnel," the ministry said.

The Defense Ministry warned that its units would take "adequate measures". "The forces are carrying out respective events at important heights and positions along the entire frontline," the statement said.

On October 17, the Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministries declared an agreement to launch a humanitarian ceasefire from 00:00 local time on October 18.

At the talks held at Russia’s initiative in Moscow, Baku and Yerevan agreed a ceasefire, which came into effect at 12:00 local time on October 10 for humanitarian reasons in order to exchange detainees and the bodies of those killed in the fighting. However, both sides traded blame for violating the ceasefire agreement.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.

The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France and the United States.