Kremlin urges 'restraint' after Armenia-Azerbaijan clashes

AFP , Tuesday 14 Jul 2020

FILE PHOTO: Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev (L) poses next to Armenia's then-president Serzh Sargsyan at the opening of peace talks in Geneva, Switzerland, October 16, 2017. (Photo: Reuters)

Russia on Tuesday urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to show restraint after a deadly escalation in fighting along their shared border.

"We are deeply concerned about the exchange of fire on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that Moscow was calling on "both sides to show restraint".

The ex-Soviet Caucasus nations have been in a decades-long conflict over Azerbaijan's southwestern separatist region of Nagorny Karabakh, which was seized by ethnic Armenian separatists in a 1990s war that claimed 30,000 lives.

Peace talks mediated by the "Minsk Group" of diplomats from France, Russia and the United States have been going on since the 1994 ceasefire.

Peskov told reporters that Russia was "ready to provide mediation efforts as a co-chair of the Minsk Group" after the latest flare-up.

Eleven Azerbaijani military personnel have died since border clashes on Sunday reignited, while Yerevan has so far denied any losses.

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