Sun, 25 Oct 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have called for a cease-fire between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces fighting around the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Kremlin said on October 1 that the two presidents spoke by phone to discuss diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the most intense fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh in years.

'Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron called on the opposing party to implement an immediate and full cease-fire, de-escalate tensions and show maximum restraint,' the Kremlin said.

The two leaders said they were prepared to make a statement in support of halting fighting and resuming negotiations on behalf of the Organiation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's so-called Minsk Group -- co-chaired by Russia, France, and the United States.

Troops from Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces have vowed to keep fighting, raising the specter of a full-blown war and even a regional conflict.

The violence is the worst in years, and possibly the worst since a 1994 cease-fire ended war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Heavy clashes -- including the use of armed drones, tanks, helicopters, and multiple-rocket systems -- have been reported along much of the line of contact that separates the ethnic Armenian forces who control Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan's troops.

Since fighting erupted on September 27, more than 100 people have been killed including civilians.

As in previous rounds of violence, both sides appear to be exaggerating the military casualties inflicted on their opponent and engaging in information warfare.

Armenia has recorded 104 military deaths and 23 civilians killed.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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