Armenia, Azerbaijan agree to cease-fire following day of intense fighting

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Nov. 16 (UPI) — Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a Russia-brokered cease-fire Tuesday evening following hours of intense fighting along their disputed border.

The fighting stopped at 6:30 p.m., according to the agreement, Armenia’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

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“The situation has relatively stabilized,” it said.

Armenia confirmed the death of a contract soldier with the number of wounded being determined while 12 service members were captured by the Armenian side, which said two of its soldiers were injured.

Both sides claimed to have inflicted significant damage to the other as well as traded accusations that the other had started the fighting earlier Tuesday.

The eruption of fighting and the abrupt cease-fire occurred a year after the two ended 44 days of war in the disputed mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region, which resulted in thousands dead.

Yerevan on Tuesday said Azerbaijan attacked its border at about 1 p.m., resulting in the loss of two military positions while Baku said Armenia launched an attack at 11 a.m “in order to capture the high grounds” and “take more advantageous positions, thereby gaining military superiority.”

Azerbaijan has yet to comment on the ceasefire, which was announced after Col. Gen. Zakir Hasanov, its defense minister, held a phone call with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu.

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Tuesday’s fighting was met with quick rebuke from world leaders calling for de-escalation.

European Council President Charles Micheal urged via Twitter for a full cease-fire and committed the 27-nation bloc to working with partners to overcome tensions in the South Caucasus.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States calls for “immediate concrete steps” to reduce tensions and for both sides to dialogue.

“The recent increase in tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan underscores the need for a negotiated, comprehensive and sustainable settlement of all remaining issues related to or resulting from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he said in a statement.