The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is located in the South Caucasus, between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Stepanakert is the capital and the largest city with a population of about 55,000. Nagorno-Karabakh declared its independence in 1991 but is recognized only by three UN non-members: Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria.
Towards the end of Soviet rule, Azerbaijani troops and Armenian secessionists started a bloody war which left the de facto independent state in the hands of ethnic Armenians when a truce was signed in 1994. Negotiations have so far failed to produce a permanent peace agreement.