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Russia Warns Against Third-Party Involvement In Karabakh War


RUSSIA -- Russian President Vladimir Putin (Left) and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov (Right) meet with journalists after Putin's annual Question and Answer live-broadcast session.

Turkey and other foreign powers should avoid any military intervention in the fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

“Any statements about any military support or military activity definitely add fuel to the fire,” Peskov told reporters in Moscow. “We are categorically against that.”

“We are calling on all countries, especially our partners such as Turkey, to do everything to convince the conflicting parties to stop hostilities and revert to a peaceful resolution of this protracted conflict by political-diplomatic means,” he said, according to the TASS news agency.

Turkey blames Armenia for the large-scale hostilities that erupted around Karabakh on Sunday and makes no secret of its military assistance to Azerbaijan. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Baku “must take matters into its own hands” and end “Armenian occupation” of Karabakh.

“We stand by Azerbaijan on the field and at the [negotiating] table,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was reported to say on Tuesday. “Now we want to solve this problem completely.”

Armenia has decried the Turkish support for Azerbaijan. It has accused Ankara of being directly involved in the worst flare-up of violence in the Karabakh conflict in years and possibly decades.

Peskov said that Moscow is now “in constant contact with Yerevan, Baku and Ankara at various levels” regarding the fighting. He said it is also “collecting information” and “analyzing the situation” on the ground. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary would not be drawn on possible Russian actions in the region.

Russia has about 5,000 troops stationed in Armenia. Russian-Armenian treaties commit it to protecting the South Caucasus country’s internationally recognized borders with Azerbaijan, Turkey and other neighbors. Despite these close ties Moscow has not openly sided with Yerevan in the Karabakh conflict.

Peskov stressed that his country maintains a “balanced position” in order to be able to “effectively offer its mediating role in the settlement of this conflict.”

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