Russia urged Turkey on Thursday to exercise restraint in its reaction to the deadly hostilities on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border which has been strongly condemned by Armenia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed the clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces during a telephone conversation.
“In connection with the recent escalation of violence between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Russian side emphasized the need for a balanced approach and containment of the parties involved in the conflict to prevent the further aggravation of the situation, ensure security on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, and intensify efforts for the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“They agreed to develop cooperation between Moscow and Ankara to stabilize the region,” added the statement. It gave no further details.
Turkey has blamed Armenia for the fighting which broke out on April 12 and continued for several days, leaving at least 17 soldiers from both sides dead. It has pledged to continue to strongly support Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, including with military assistance.
The Armenian government has decried the Turkish reaction, accusing Ankara of trying to destabilize the region, undercutting international efforts to resolve the conflict and posing a serious security threat to Armenia. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said earlier on Thursday that Ankara’s increasingly “aggressive” pro-Azerbaijani stance is necessitating a rethink of Armenia’s foreign and security policy. He did not elaborate.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said last week that the Armenians “will certainly pay for what they have done” to Azerbaijan, his country’s main regional ally. Such statements have fuelled speculation about Turkey’s intervention in the Karabakh conflict on Azerbaijan’s side.
Analysts believe Moscow would strongly oppose Turkish military presence in the former Soviet region regarded by it as a zone of Russian geopolitical influence.
Russia is allied to Armenia and has thousands of troops stationed in the South Caucasus state.