17:25 Apr. 5, 2016
Russia and western diplomats have pushed for mutual ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Armenian-backed forces and Azerbaijan have agreed to stop fighting in the disputed separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The deal has been announced by the Defense Ministry of the so-called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and later confirmed by Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry.
"On April 5 at 12:00, the military actions between the armed forces of Armenia and Azerbaijan on the contact line were halted under mutual agreement," Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh has claimed the lives of dozens of people in the past four days, prompting warnings the conflict could spiral into an all-out war. The region is surrounded by Azerbaijan but is controlled by ethnic Armenians. As the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, it was the site of a bloody separatist war. Open hostilities came to an end in 1994, after the deaths of nearly 30,000 people. Since then, the mountainous, landlocked region has run its own affairs with heavy military and financial backing from Armenia.