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Iran Press TV

Russia backs 'peaceful solution' for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict after Armenia hails war

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 22 October 2020 4:03 PM

Russia describes a "peaceful solution" as the only way out of the deadly flare-up in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, a day after Armenia ruled out any role for diplomacy.

"Russia has been doing everything in its power to steer the current situation onto the political and diplomatic track. We are still convinced that this problem can only have a peaceful solution," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday, according to Russia's Sputnik news agency.

He, however, regretted, what he called, the two sides' failure to commit to the agreements that have been reached towards remedying the conflict since September 27, when the Armenian separatists sparked a firefight by targeting Azeri forces. Peskov was referring to two set of truce agreements, one reached with Moscow's mediation, that were broken shortly after their conclusion.

"Engagement in conflict resolution, mediation, and participation in the formats is only possible with the consent of the two sides," Peskov noted.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but is populated by Armenians and sought after by the Armenian secessionists.

Around 1,000 have reportedly died from the two sides during the violence since last month. The flare-up has proven the deadliest to erupt between the two sides since 1992, when Armenians invaded the region with Yerevan's backing and forced Azeris into a retreat.

According to AFP, the civilian death toll on the Azeri side has surpassed 60, including 25 who died in two missile attacks that leveled rows of houses in Azerbaijan's's second-largest city of Ganja.

The Armenians seeking to break Nagorno-Karabakh away from Azerbaijan alleged that they recorded 40 more deaths on Thursday, taking their overall death toll to 874.

Moscow's call for pacification came a day after Armenia's prime minister alleged he could see no diplomatic resolution to the conflict at this stage. "There is victory and there is defeat. There is no middle ground," Nikol Pashinyan said in a televised address.

Putin: Nearly 5,000 people so far killed in Karabakh conflict

Later on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said nearly 5,000 people have been killed in fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

"There are a lot of casualties from both sides, more than 2,000 from each side," Putin told a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club.

Also on Thursday, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev seemed to be offering to meet Armenia halfway after he did not rule out "cultural autonomy" for ethnic Armenians in the region, Reuters said. He also said he was not against the introduction of observers and peacekeepers in the region, while asserting that Baku would, nevertheless, present its own conditions.

AFP, meanwhile, cited the head of a Red Cross mission monitoring the situation as calling on all parties to the conflict to refrain from opening fire on civilians and respect international law.

"This is very important. They have to spare the lives of civilians, civilian infrastructure, because there have been situations in which they have been using heavy artillery in populated areas," Gerardo Moloeznik said.

He also told the news agency that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stood ready to help the two sides repatriate bodies for burial at home.

The developments in the region come on the eve of talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia's top diplomats that are supposed to be moderated by the United States.

Alongside Russia and France, the US is part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, a body formed to supposedly resolve the conflict that has fallen short of the goal since the 1992 war.

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