Ethnic violence flared in two former Soviet republics Monday, leaving 12 people dead in a disputed Azerbaijani region and two dead in eastern Moldova, officials and news reports said.
More than 1,000 people have died in fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Christian Armenian region within Muslim Azerbaijan that is seeking independence.
Ignoring a 3-week-old, Iranian-brokered cease-fire, Azerbaijani forces late Sunday attacked the territory's capital of Stepanakert with troops and rockets, the Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported Monday.
Twelve Armenians were killed, the agency said, quoting Armenpress, an independent news agency. It said Armenian forces turned back the Azerbaijani troops, although fighting continued around Shusha and other towns.
In Moldova, the Interior Ministry said a policeman was killed and six others wounded in clashes between Moldovan forces and separatists near the Trans-Dniester town of Dubossary late Sunday. A woman was reportedly killed in an attack on an ambulance in the same town.
Trans-Dniester, a predominantly Russian and Ukrainian region bordering Ukraine, voted in December to secede from Moldova. Members of its mostly Slavic population took up arms because they oppose Romanian-language proficiency requirements and fear Moldova will reunite with Romania.