MOSCOW, September 30. /TASS/. Russia maintains contacts with both Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh and will spare no effort to help de-escalate the conflict, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.
"We are doing our best to get the situation from this acutest phase back into a phase of a political and diplomatic solution," the diplomat stressed.
When asked whether Moscow would be ready to provide a venue for talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan in case a corresponding request is submitted, Zakharova said, "As you know, any request will be considered, no matter which side we are talking about. It is normal diplomatic practice. We maintain this kind of contacts with all the parties."
"I think that since the first minutes - not even hours - when this situation spiraled into an acute phase of the conflict, Russia has been in touch with all the sides, including with those that are involved in one way or another," she said. "Everything possible is being done to help the parties settle the situation, getting it back to the course of peace and putting this fire out."
Zakharova mentioned the Russian leadership’s contacts and the Russian diplomats’ efforts at international venues, including the United Nations Security Council.
The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27, fighting is underway on the disputed territory. Both Azerbaijan and Armenia declared martial law and mobilization. Both sides report casualties, also among the civilian population. Baku claimed that several villages and strategic heights in Karabakh had been seized by its forces. Yerevan reported that the Armenian territory had come under fire.
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.