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On Friday, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan reported that Hadrut had been “liberated” by the national armed forces. On Sunday, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry insisted the town remained under its control. Nagorno-Karabakh’s authorities denied losing the town, and said an Azerbaijani raiding party launched a surprise attack on Friday, but that the “enemy” had been repelled.
Baku’s claims at least partially differ from the reality on the ground, Zhdanov reported after visiting the town on Sunday. The part of Hadrut he managed to get to was still controlled by Nagorno-Karabakh forces, he said. Intense fighting was underway in the area, with heavy artillery shelling by both sides. On the way back to Stepanakert, he witnessed at least two airstrikes nearby, he said.
⚡️⚡️Exclusive: inside #Hadrut
The city has not fallen to the Azeri forces – at least not completely. The part we visited is under the control of Armenian soldiers. No ceasefire there: both sides are shelling each other with artillery, combat jets are bombing too. #Karabakh pic.twitter.com/srehDGHd14
— Igor Zhdanov (@IgorZhdanovRT) October 11, 2020
The fighting continues despite a ceasefire which is supposed to be in force in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan, which claims the territory as its own, and Armenia, which backs the breakaway republic militarily, agreed to stop hostilities starting midday Saturday and to take a humanitarian pause. The parties have since repeatedly accused each other of violating the agreement.
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