“Unfortunately, there are casualties and the parties are using heavy weapons as well,” Sergei Naryshkin, the chief of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, told reporters in Moscow.
“We see that this issue can be resolved only with political-diplomatic methods, and Russia will always seek peace in every possible way,” Naryshkin said, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov telephoned his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts hours after the outbreak of heavy fighting around Karabakh early on Sunday. He called for a quick end to the fighting involving thousands of troops, tanks, heavy artillery and attack drones.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian also discussed the most serious escalation of the Karabakh conflict in years -- and possibly decades -- in a phone call.
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, urged the conflicting parties on Monday to display “maximum restraint” and avoid a “further undesirable escalation of the situation.” The TASS news agency quoted him as saying that Putin will also speak with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev “if need be.”
Russia, which has close political, military and economic ties with Armenia, has not blamed any of the parties for the hostilities.
The United States and the European Union have reacted to the Karabakh fighting in a similar fashion.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun also spoke with Armenia’s and Azerbaijan’s foreign ministers by phone. According to the U.S. State Department, he urged both sides to “cease hostilities immediately” and avoid “actions that further raise tensions on the ground.”
U.S. President Donald Trump said later on Sunday that Washington is closely monitoring the developments in the Karabakh conflict zone.
“We have a lot of good relationships in that area,” Trump told reporters. “We’ll see if we can stop [the hostilities.]”