Armenia blames Azerbaijan for shelling of cathedral

CNA Staff, Oct 9, 2020 / 03:55 pm (CNA).- A historical cathedral in Nagorno-Karabakh was attacked this week, and Armenia is accusing Azerbaijan of carrying out the attack.

Holy Savior Cathedral in Shusha, Nagorno-Karabakh – a disputed territory – was shelled on October 8 amid increasing violence between the two countries.

Artsrun Hovhannisyan, spokesman for Armenia’s defense ministry, blamed “enemy Azerbaijan” for the attack, the BBC said.

According to reports, a section of the cathedral’s roof was destroyed in the attack, while limestone walls were damaged and pews knocked over.

One local resident told AFP news agency that “it is a very important cathedral for Armenians.” He noted that the city of Shusha contains no military operations and questioned the reason for the attack.

Holy Savior Cathedral was consecrated in 1888 and later damaged in 1920 in the Shusa massacre of Armenians by Azerbaijanis. During the Nagorno-Karabakh War, Azerbaijan used the cathedral as a missile armory.

The cathedral was restored after the war and reconsecrated in 1998. The building is 35 meters high, making it one of the largest Armenian churches in the world, and an important symbol for the Armenian people.

Nagorno-Karabakh is an area internationally recognized as belonging to Azerbaijan, a predominately Muslim country, but controlled by ethnic Armenians, who mostly belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church, one of six churches belonging to the Oriental Orthodox communion.

The dispute over the territory has been ongoing since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with a war breaking out from 1988 to 1994.

Fighting has reignited in recent months, with Turkey declaring support for Azerbaijan and other states calling for a diplomatic resolution.

Since the fighting picked up on September 27, thousands of people have been displaced from their homes and over 300 people have died, the BBC reported.


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