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Over 30 people detained in Moscow for ethnic clashes

The offenders could be barred from entering Russia in the next five years

MOSCOW, July 25. /TASS/. Moscow police have detained more than 30 people suspected of involvement in ethnic clashes in the past two days, the capital’s police told TASS on Saturday.

"On July 23-24, the capital recorded public offences, damage to property and infliction of bodily injuries by foreign nationals. More than 30 people have been taken to territorial police stations," the press service said.

The suspects were accused of petty hooliganism. Moreover, criminal charges were brought against them under Article 213 of the Russian Criminal Code (hooliganism) and Article 162 (banditry). The offenders could be barred from entering Russia in the next five years.

In early hours of Friday, several clashes erupted between Azerbaijan and Armenia natives in east Moscow, one of them triggered a mass brawl. Police apprehended 25 people. Later on Friday, new clashes were reported across Moscow. In the capital’s southeastern suburb, a group of Azerbaijan natives armed with wooden bats and metal bars ransacked a construction goods shop run by Armenians. One individual was injured. In another incident, unidentified people smashed windows in a cafe and a car wash in Moscow’s west. A customer was injured with broken glass. Moreover, seven Armenians armed with wooden bats stormed a restaurant run by Azerbaijani natives and went on a rampage. A few more brawls were recorded in other districts of the Russian capital.

Conflict on Armenian-Azerbaijani border

Tensions escalated on the two countries’ border on July 12. Azerbaijan reported that Armenia’s Armed Forces had tried to launch an attack on its positions with the use of artillery systems, whereas Armenia said that the situation on the border had aggravated after Azerbaijan’s attempted assault. Baku said that its twelve service members had been killed since last Sunday. Yerevan reported that four troops had been killed and ten more wounded. According to both sides, the situation on the border has been relatively calm since July 17.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France and the United States.