Tue, 01 Dec 2020

YEREVAN/BAKU -- Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of shelling a historic cathedral in territory controlled by ethnic-Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh as fighting over the breakaway Azerbaijani region continues to rage.

Yerevan's state-run Armenian Unified Infocenter reported that the Holy Savior Cathedral in the town of Susha sustained exterior and interior damage from the attack in the late afternoon of October 8.

Also known as the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral, the 19th-century building is part of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It is perched on a strategic clifftop in Susha just a few kilometers south of Stepanakert -- Nagorno-Karabakh's largest city.

Hovhannes Movsisian, a spokesman for the Armenian government, said on Facebook that several foreign journalists were injured by the attack -- including a Russian journalist who was hospitalized in critical condition and was undergoing an operation.

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry denied attacking the cathedral, saying its army 'doesn't target historical, cultural, especially religious buildings and monuments.'

The historic cathedral was damaged as fighting over the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh continues to rage.

Earlier on October 8, Baku said Armenian forces had attacked several Azerbaijani towns and villages overnight, causing casualties.

The Defense Ministry in Baku said on its website that Azerbaijani forces were 'taking adequate measures,' without elaborating.

Armenia's Defense Ministry reported earlier in the day that the Armenian-backed separatist forces had repelled an attack to the southeast of Stepanakert and Susha, killing Azerbaijani soldiers and destroying military equipment.

The latest clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces over Nagorno-Karabakh erupted on September 27. The fighting, which has involved the use of heavy artillery, warplanes, and drones, has continued despite numerous international calls for a cease-fire.

The fighting marks the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict since a shaky cease-fire was reached in 1994.

Yerevan and Baku accuse each other of expanding the hostilities beyond Nagorno-Karabakh and of targeting civilians. Scores of civilians on both sides have been killed.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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