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Putin, Macron Discuss Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict


Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron meet at the Fort de Bregancon, a presidential residence in Bormes-Les-Mimosas, August 19, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin has discussed the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh with French President Emmanuel Macron as Armenia reported "fierce fighting" near a key city in the region.

During a November 7 phone call, Putin and Macron expressed serious concern over the large-scale clashes between ethnic Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the region and the involvement of fighters from Syria and Libya in the conflict, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The presidents said they would continue coordinated mediation efforts, including through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group, set up in 1992 to seek a peaceful resolution.

Earlier in the day Armenian military authorities said that numerous overnight attacks by Azerbaijani forces outside the town of Shushi (Shusha), a key stronghold in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, had been thwarted. They said fierce battles near the town continued during the day.

Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry called the claims it was shelling Shushi "completely untrue."

The hilltop town of Shushi is located on a main road that links the region's capital of Stepanakert with the territory of Armenia, which backs ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.

At least 1,200 people and possibly many more have died in nearly six weeks of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Attempts by Russia, France, and the United States, which co-chair the OSCE Minsk Group, to help reach a lasting ceasefire have so far failed.

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