Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday expressed serious concern at the outbreak of heavy fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh and urged the warring sides to “immediately” restore the ceasefire which Russia brokered more than two decades ago.
The TASS news agency quoted Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, as saying that the Russian leader is “deeply concerned about reports about the resumption of hostilities” along the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact.”
“President Putin is calling on the parties to the conflict to immediately stop gunfire and show restraint in order to prevent fresh human casualties,” Peskov said. Putin “regrets that the situation has again degenerated into an armed confrontation,” he added.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, meanwhile, had emergency phone calls with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Shoygu discussed with them “the need to take urgent measures to stabilize the situation in the conflict zone.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry, for its part, said that Moscow is closely monitoring the situation in the conflict zone. “We are calling on the sides to show restraint and immediately renounce any type of violence,” the ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said, according to the Interfax news agency.
Zakharova also said that Moscow has already launched “consultations” with fellow mediators from the United States in connection with the unprecedented escalation.
Peskov noted that the three mediating nations have recently made “energetic efforts that could eventually lead to the conflict’s resolution.”
The hostilities broke out as the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents attended a global nuclear security summit in Washington hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama. They did not immediately make public statements on the escalation.