A new ceasefire in the mountain territory of Nagorno-Karabakh was in jeopardy with Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces reporting shelling and heavy fighting.
Among accusations on both sides, Azerbaijan said it had “neutralised” a missile fired by Armenian forces at an oil pipeline in Azerbaijan on Sunday, several hours after the ceasefire went into force. Armenia denied firing it.
The ceasefire was agreed on Saturday after an earlier deal brokered by Russia failed to halt the deadliest clashes in the South Caucasus since the 1990s.
So far, the main driver of diplomacy between the ex-Soviet enemies has been Russia. Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev both told Russia’s TASS news agency in separate interviews on Monday that they were ready to come to Moscow for talks.
The failure to stop the fighting has raised fears of a humanitarian crisis, and put new strains on ties between Turkey, which strongly backs Azerbaijan, and its NATO allies which want the conflict to end.