Nagorno-Karabakh: Key cities targeted in Armenian, Azeri shelling

As Armenia and Azerbaijan continue their clash over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region for a second week, both countries have blamed each other for targeting important cities and endangering the lives of civilians.

Armenia’s government-run information centre has released footage purportedly showing artillery attacks by Azeri forces on Sunday in the city of Stepanakert.

Armenian authorities claimed civilian casualties as a result of Sunday’s attack.

The video shows severely damaged buildings, including an apartment block, and a street covered in debris.

Al Jazeera’s Bernard Smith was forced to leave Stepanakert on Sunday night due to “intense bombardment”, which he said killed five civilians.

Armenia’s ministry of defence tweeted that Azeri forces had fired rockets at Stepanakert and Shushi “with great intensity”.

“Fierce fighting engagements are ongoing,” the ministry tweeted on Monday.

Anna Naghdalyan, spokeswoman for Armenia’s ministry of foreign affairs, said on Monday that Stepanakert is being “continuously attacked by Azerbaijani armed forces with cluster munitions”.

Azerbaijan’s defence ministry said Armenian forces were shelling three of its towns – Beylagan, Barda, and Terter – after hitting Ganja and Mingecevir, the country’s second and fourth-largest cities respectively, on Sunday.

Hikmet Hajiyev, head of Azerbaijan’s Foreign Policy Affairs Department, tweeted that four Tochka ballistic missiles had been launched at Mingecevir, which has a population of more than 100,000 and is located 100km (62 miles) from Armenia’s border.

However, Shushan Stepanyan, press secretary for Armenia’s defence ministry, dismissed Azerbaijan’s accusations that Armenia was targeting Mingecevir as false.

“No fire was opened from Armenia,” Stepanyan tweeted. “This is the desperate convulsions of the Azerbaijani side.”

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