MOSCOW, September 29. /TASS/. The Kremlin is certain that statements of possible military support for Azerbaijan and Armenia in light of the recent escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh only add fuel to the fire, while the parties should be persuaded to return to political and diplomatic ways to reach settlement, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Tuesday.
"The Kremlin primarily comes from the premise that hostilities and fire should be stopped as soon as possible. Any statements of any military support or military actions definitely add fuel to the fire. We categorically oppose this and do not agree with this," the spokesman noted.
"We are calling on all countries, especially our partners like Turkey, to do everything possible to convince the opposing parties to cease fire and return to peaceful settlement of this long-standing conflict through political and diplomatic means," Peskov added.
He pointed out, "the Russian side is in constant touch with Yerevan, Baku and Ankara on various levels." "We are collecting all information about the developments along the line of contact, following all the news, analyzing the situation and using this knowledge to formulate our future stance and determine the next steps together with our partners in the OSCE group," the spokesman underlined.
Earlier, the Armenian Foreign Ministry claimed that "Turkish instructors are fighting" in Nagorno-Karabakh on the Azeri side. Moreover, the diplomatic agency said that it has proof that Ankara is recruiting mercenaries "in some Middle Eastern countries." In turn, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday that Ankara is ready to support Baku in the Nagorno-Karabakh situation "both at the negotiating table and the battlefield." Meanwhile, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary General Stephane Dujarric reported that the organization cannot independently verify the veracity of the claim that Turkey is interfering in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He urged the conflicting parties to grant the OSCE monitoring mission access to the conflict zone.
On September 27, Baku said that Armenia had shelled the Azerbaijani army’s positions and Yerevan, in turn, claimed that Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces had launched an offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh, shelling regional settlements, including the capital, Stepanakert. Both parties reported casualties, including among civilians. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have declared martial law and troop mobilization. Baku reports that it took a few Nagorno-Karabakh villages and strategic heights under its control. Yerevan says that territories outside of the disputed region are shelled.
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.