A ceasefire brokered by the USA in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the mountainous frontier territory of Nagorno Karabakh has broken down in acrimony minutes after it came into effect earlier today.
This is the third negotiated ceasefire in the dispute to risk collapse. Two earlier attempts failed to hold.
Armenia has accused Azerbaijani artillery of firing on military positions along the front line after the ceasefire agreement had begun.
Azerbaijan has accused Armenian forces of shelling the town of Terter and nearby villages in violation of the agreement.
The failure to respect these agreements is symptomatic of the fierce nationalist passions that are fuelling hatred on both sides, and blinding reason. Fighting broke out 4 weeks ago and has been intense with several thousand casualties and much civilian collateral damage. The fighting has also caused tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes.
Mediators from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) are also due to meet again on Thursday to discuss the conflict.
Although Nagorno-Karabakh is recognised internationally as part of Azerbaijan, it is de facto under ethnic Armenian control.
In the meanwhile, credible evidence emerged last week and was published by the BBC of a potential war crime committed by Azerbaijani troops in the village of Hadrut who allegedly executed two Armenian men. The material is being examined by the Council of Europe, who have said they will look into all alleged human rights abuses and take action when appropriate.