Azerbaijan and Armenia agree to ceasefire on the borde

Military clashes broke out in the early hours of this morning in which at least three Armenian soldiers were killed
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PHOTO/AP  -   Armenian soldiers examine a house destroyed by Azerbaijani artillery shelling in Stepanakert, the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region

Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed on Wednesday to a ceasefire on their common border where military clashes broke out early this morning, killing at least three Armenian soldiers.

The ceasefire was proposed by Russia, which mediated an end to last year's 44-day war between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh and in part of whose territory it maintains a contingent of peacekeepers.

"With the mediation of the Russian peacekeeping forces command, an agreement was reached to re-establish the truce regime on the line of contact between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops," the Armenian defence ministry said in a statement.

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PHOTO/AP - Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev

According to the Armenian side, "at the moment the agreement is generally observed".

In turn, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry stated that "Azerbaijan has supported Russia's initiative to implement a ceasefire regime on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border from 10:00 Baku time (06:00 GMT)".

The Azerbaijani foreign ministry stressed that Azerbaijan "reserves the right to defend its territorial integrity and will respond resolutely to any action against it".

"We call on Armenia to accept the new realities in the region, to stop military provocations and to start negotiations on border delimitation," Azerbaijani diplomacy said in a statement.

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PHOTO/AP - Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian

Azerbaijan and Armenia accused each other of starting the military actions that took place today in the central part of the border between the two countries, one of the most serious incidents since 10 November last year, when the agreement ending the 44-day war in Karabakh was signed.

More than 5,500 soldiers and around 150 civilians were killed in the war for control of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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PHOTO/REUTERS - Building damaged after a recent bombing in the city of Shusha

The territory, disputed between Armenians and Azerbaijanis since 1988, is internationally recognised as Azerbaijan, although it was populated by ethnic Armenians. Azerbaijan prevailed in the conflict and regained seven districts adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh that had been occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.

In addition, Azerbaijan took control of part of Karabakh, including Shusha, its second largest city, located only 11 kilometres from the capital, Stepanakert, which remains under Armenian control.