In separate phone calls with his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts reported by the Russian Defense Ministry in the morning, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu again called for a halt to hostilities along the Karabakh “line of contact” which seemed to be continuing unabated.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke, meanwhile, by phone with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov. Lavrov said afterwards that the warring sides should urgently work out a “ceasefire verification mechanism.”
“I reiterated corresponding signals just half an hour ago when I received a phone call from Azerbaijan’s foreign minister,” Lavrov told Russian media. “We are sending the same signal to our Armenian colleagues as well.”
The deployment of “military observers” in the conflict zone, Lavrov went on, should be part of that verification mechanism. “We believe it would be absolutely right if they were our observers, but it is up to the parties to make a final decision,” he said.
Lavrov chided Turkey for strongly supporting Azerbaijan’s military offensive in Karabakh. “We disagree with the position which has been voiced by Turkey and which has also been expressed by Azerbaijan’s president for several times. There is no secret here, we cannot agree with the statements to the effect that a military solution to the conflict is possible and admissible,” he said.
Lavrov insisted that a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict is still “possible” despite the large-scale hostilities that broke out on September 27. He said it should be based on peace proposals that have long been made by the Russian, U.S. and French mediators co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group.
“Their essence is known: a phased liberation of districts around Karabakh while observing security guarantees for Karabakh and ensuring a reliable link between Armenia and Karabakh until determining the final status of Karabakh,” he said.