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Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh announce ceasefire

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Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry has announced the suspension of military operations in Karabakh from 12:00 (Moscow time) on September 20

“An agreement has been reached on the suspension of anti-terrorist activities in Karabakh,” the ministry said in a statement.

Despite the ceasefire announcement, shelling has reportedly continued, according to locals in Karabakh (referred to as Artsakh by the Armenian population):

“The Artsakh authorities have announced their acceptance of the peacekeepers' proposal to cease fire with Azerbaijan. It was supposed to have stopped already, but a few minutes ago, we heard artillery shelling nearby Stepanakert. Both sides have incurred heavy losses,” tweeted former Nagorno-Karabakh Human Rights Ombudsman Artak Beglaryan.

The Nagorno-Karabakh authorities have reportedly agreed to a surrender to Azerbaijan. As per information from the Telegram channel Baza, the unrecognized republic's army suffered significant casualties, with nearly 1,000 personnel lost in battles over the past day. The Azerbaijani force, totaling around 60,000, lost between 300 to 500 soldiers, according to various reports.

Ruben Vardanyan, a former high-ranking official within Nagorno-Karabakh's ethnic Armenian administration told Reuters on Wednesday that nearly 100 people had lost their lives, with hundreds more sustaining injuries.

“Already hundreds of people have been injured and close to 100 people have been killed,” Vardanyan told the news agency. He said Azerbaijan's forces continued the military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh through the night and into Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, the Artsakh side has casualties and wounded. In some areas, the enemy managed to break through to the combat positions of the Defense Army, to take control of a number of heights and strategic road junctions. In the current situation, the actions of the international community towards ending the war and settling the situation are insufficient. Taking all this into account, the authorities of the Republic of Artsakh accept the proposal of the command of the Russian peacekeeping mission to cease fire,” read an official statement from NKR InfoCenter, Karabakh’s information headquarters.

The disarmament and withdrawal of Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh will be carried out in coordination with Russian peacekeepers.

A meeting with representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenian population will be held in Azerbaijan’s Yevlakh on September 21 “to discuss reintegration issues,” according to a statement issued by the administration of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Earlier today, Vladimir Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov, commenting on the situation in Karabakh, said that “de jure it is about Baku's actions on its territory.” The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh “continues to fulfil its functions in the aggravated conditions.”

On September 19, Azerbaijani forces began shelling the Nagorno-Karabakh capital Stepanakert and other settlements in the region, in what the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said were “local anti-terrorist activities,” as per an official statement.

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