Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of violating a humanitarian ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region shortly after it came into effect on Monday.

The two former Soviet republics have been engaged in a flare-up over the disputed South Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh, controlled for decades by Christian Armenian troops but considered by the United Nations as part of predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry in Baku said on Monday that its soldiers in the village of Safiyan were shot at.
The authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh rejected this, and the Armenian Defence Ministry in Yerevan accused Baku of targeted disinformation.

Azerbaijan’s armed forces resumed artillery shelling 45 minutes after the ceasefire came into effect, a ministry spokeswoman in Yerevan said.

The latest attempt at a pause in fighting was agreed in Moscow and facilitated by the US. It came into force on Monday at 8 am (0400 GMT).

Both countries had reaffirmed their commitment to the truce on Saturday, according to a joint news release from the US State Department.

Azerbaijan lost control of the mountainous area with around 145,000 inhabitants in a war after the collapse of the Soviet Union around 30 years ago. A fragile ceasefire has existed since 1994.

Cultural, religious and historical ties link Azerbaijan to Turkey, and similarly Armenia to Russia. The recent heavy fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh flared up again on September 27.

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