MOSCOW, September 27. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, during a telephone conversation with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov, expressed concern over the ongoing shelling in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.
"The ministers discussed the sharp aggravation of the situation in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Lavrov expressed serious concerns over the continuing shelling along the contact line, which entailed casualties, including the civilian population," the Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry added that the Russian side stressed the need for an early ceasefire. "Russia, together with other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, will continue to undertake mediation efforts aimed at stabilizing the situation," the ministry said.
On Sunday morning, Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan said that Armenia began intensive shelling on the positions of the Azerbaijani army and settlements, with reported casualties and wounded among the civilian population. In turn, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that the Azerbaijani armed forces launched an offensive in the direction of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The conflict between Baku and Yerevan began in February 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its secession from the Azerbaijan SSR. During the conflict of 1992-1994, Azerbaijan lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. Since 1992, negotiations have been held on a peaceful settlement of the conflict within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, chaired by Russia, the United States, and France.