YEREVAN, Armenia — Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of violating a new "humanitarian ceasefire" in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region on Sunday morning, hours after it came into effect at midnight (2000 GMT Saturday).

A spokeswoman for the Armenian Ministry of Defense said that there had been rocket and artillery fire from the enemy side early on Sunday.

There was no immediate response from the Azerbaijani side.

The new attempt at peace, announced by both foreign ministries on Saturday evening, came as both Russia and France said they had intervened in an attempt to mediate an end the latest flare-up over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenia and Azerbaijan blamed each other for breaking the peace shortly after an initial ceasefire came into force last weekend.

The two ex-Soviet republics have been fighting for decades for the mountainous region with around 145,000 inhabitants.

Christian Nagorno-Karabakh is controlled by Armenia, but under international law it belongs to the Muslim-majority nation of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan lost control of the area in a war that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union 30 years ago. A fragile ceasefire had been in place since 1994.

Thousands of people have fled the region, predominantly inhabited by Christian Karabakh Armenians, since fighting flared up again on September 27.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said that more than 600 soldiers had been killed since then.

Azerbaijan has so far not provided any information on losses in its armed forces but it says that more than 50 civilians were killed in Armenian attacks.


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