A witness said they were awakened by a huge explosion that razed nine apartments. “Everything I have worked for all my life has been destroyed,” said Zagit Aliyev, 68.The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers approved an agreement to suspend hostilities to exchange prisoners and the bodies of those killed after two weeks of fighting in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region after marathon talks in Moscow.
The truce officially went into effect at noon on Saturday, but the two sides almost immediately accused each other of violations.
The defense ministry of the breakaway region said on Sunday that Armenian forces were respecting the humanitarian ceasefire and accused Azerbaijan of bombing civilian areas.
Claims that Armenian forces were responsible for the bombing of Ganja were “an absolute lie,” he said.
Nagorno-Karabakh leader Arayik Harutyunyan called the situation Sunday “calmer,” but said the truce was precarious.
Vahram Poghosyan, a spokesman for Harutyunyan, said the night bombing of Stepanakert was “a breach of the agreements reached in Moscow,” and called on the international community to recognize the province’s independence as a means of end the fighting.
New fighting erupted at the end of last month, following a long disagreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. The disputed territory is an ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, home to around 150,000 people, which broke control of Azerbaijan in a war in the 1990s in which around 30,000 people were killed.
The return to fighting has fueled fears of a full-fledged war involving Turkey, which strongly supports Azerbaijan, and Russia, which has a military treaty with Armenia.
Armenia and world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have denounced the deployment of pro-Turkish fighters from Syria and Libya to bolster the Azerbaijani army.
A senior Azerbaijani official said on Saturday that the truce should only be temporary, and said Baku had no intention of backtracking in its efforts to regain control of Nagorno-Karabakh.