“The two leaders continued discussing the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone,” the Kremlin said in a statement. “They expressed serious concern over the incoming information on the involvement in hostilities of militants of illegal armed units from the Middle East.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry warned on Wednesday that the mercenaries pose “long-term security threats for all countries in the region.”
The Islamist mercenaries have reportedly been recruited by Turkey in Syria and sent to fight in Karabakh on Azerbaijan’s side. Ankara denies that.
Speaking with Putin, Pashinian condemned Turkey’s “extremely destabilizing behavior.” According to his office, the Armenian leader again accused Ankara of being directly involved in the fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.
The Kremlin statement also said: “Vladimir Putin again emphasized the need to immediately stop the hostilities and resume political and diplomatic efforts to settle the conflict in line with the Statement made by the presidents of the countries co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France and the US) on October 1, 2020.”
The Armenian Foreign Ministry welcomed that statement earlier in the day. It said Yerevan is ready to “engage with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries to reestablish a cease-fire regime.”
Both Azerbaijan and Turkey rejected the mediating powers’ joint appeal for an immediate halt to the violence. They said the war will continue until the end of the “Armenian occupation” of Karabakh.
It was Putin’s and Pashinian’s third phone conversation since the September 27 outbreak of the large-scale hostilities along the Karabakh “line of contact.” Putin has still not spoken with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
The Karabakh conflict was also reportedly high on the agenda of a meeting between Nikolay Patrushev, the influential secretary of Russia’s Security Council, and the U.S. National Security adviser, Robert O’Brien, held in Geneva on Friday.
A spokesman for Patrushev was quoted by the TASS news agency as saying that the two men noted their countries’ “convergence of approaches to the problem.” They also “reaffirmed the need for a quick launch of a peaceful politico-diplomatic process” of settling the Karabakh conflict, he said.