MOSCOW (AP) – Azerbaijan and Armenia are marking the anniversary of the start of their six-week war that killed more than 6,600 people and ended with control of large areas of Azerbaijan.
Soldiers carrying photographs of combat comrades marched through the center of Azerbaijan’s capital Baku on Monday. In the Armenian capital Yerevan, thousands of people went to pay tribute to soldiers buried at the Yerablur Military Cemetery.
The foreign ministries of each country issued statements blaming the other for starting the war on the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Nagorno-Karabakh is within Azerbaijan, but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces supported by Armenia since the end of the separatist war in 1994.
Last year’s war ended when Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a Russo-broker armistice, which gave Azerbaijan control over parts of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as areas occupied by Armenians.
Armenia says that more than 3,700 Armenians and Nagorno-Karabakh residents died in the war. Azerbaijan said it lost 2,900 people.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan issued a statement placing the blame for the war on Armenia: “A year ago today, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan initiated responsive measures to counter another military provocation from the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia “
But Armenia’s foreign ministry said “the 44-day war was a pre-planned and prepared military offensive aimed at closing the Karabakh issue by ultimately eliminating the Armenian population.”