Azerbaijanian Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov has reportedly claimed that hostilities will escalate in the contested city of Stepanakert, in the Nagorno-Karabakh republic, if Armenian-backed separatists continue their shelling campaign of civilian settlements. The escalation came in the wake of a unilateral ceasefire agreed upon Saturday, as the Azeri Defence Ministry claimed that the separatists had refused to respect the agreement and resumed shelling military and civilian outposts with artillery near the conflicted border. However, an Armenian Defence Ministry spokesman disputed these claims and accused the Azeri Defence Ministry of attacking a bus near the Martakert district with a remote drone, killing five.
The conflict, which has been dormant since the end of a full-scale war over the region in 1994, exploded over the weekend with a reported 30 combatants killed from both sides. However, none of these claims have been independently verified.