Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to ceasefire, says Armenian Defense Ministry

Armenia had asked Moscow to help defend it after the worst fighting since 44 day war last year between ethnic Armenian forces and the Azeri army over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave that killed at least 6,500 people.

That conflict ended after Russia, which has a military base in Armenia, negotiated a peace agreement and deployed nearly 2,000 peacekeepers to the region. Turkey sided with Azerbaijan, which regained tracts of land it lost in a previous conflict.

“According to an agreement brokered by the Russian side, the fire has ceased in the eastern section of the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the situation is relatively stable,” the Armenian Defense Ministry said.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Earlier Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan discussed the situation at the border by phone, the Kremlin said.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also spoke by phone with Armenian and Azerbaijani defense ministers, the Interfax news agency said.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said that its troops had been attacked from Azerbaijan and that 12 of its soldiers were captured, while two fighting positions near the border with Azerbaijan were lost.

Eduard Aghajanian, head of the Armenian parliament’s foreign relations committee, said 15 Armenian soldiers had been killed.

The Azeri Defense Ministry said it had responded to large-scale “provocations” after Armenian forces bombed Azeri army positions, and that its own operation had been successful.

The French Foreign Ministry said it was very concerned about the deterioration of the situation and called on both countries to respect a ceasefire.

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