Azerbaijan announces unilateral ceasefire after brief conflict over disputed region

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Azerbaijan has announced a unilateral ceasefire with Armenia to suspend military action in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, but warns it will “use all means” to retake the region if fighting continues.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday that it decided to “unilaterally suspend operations and response measures” after urgent requests from the international community to cease fighting immediately.

Azerbaijan warned that, if the other sides resume its operations, the country “will continue to use all means to destroy the enemy and, without restrictions, liberate the occupied territories and restore territorial integrity.”

Fighting broke out in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh on Saturday, leaving dozens dead on all sides. It marked the worst violence in the region since all parties to the conflict reached a Russian-backed ceasefire in 1994.

Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region on Azerbaijani territory with a predominantly ethnic Armenian population, came under Armenian control in the late 1980s, when the region claimed independence from Azerbaijan in an effort to join Armenia. The conflict that followed left more than 30,000 people dead until a ceasefire was reached in 1994.

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