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Russia concerned about movement of militants to Nagorno-Karabakh

Tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia escalated on September 27

MOSCOW, September 30. /TASS/. Moscow is concerned about reports of the movement of militants from Syria and Libya to the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Reports are coming in that members of illegal armed groups are being moved to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, particularly from Syria and Libya, to take part in military activities. We are deeply concerned about these developments that can not only raise tensions further in the conflict zone but also create long-term security threats for all countries in the region," the statement reads.

"We call on the interested countries to take effective measures to prevent attempts to engage foreign terrorists and mercenaries in the conflict and immediately remove them from the region," the Russian Foreign Ministry added.

Tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia escalated on September 27. Fighting is underway in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku and Yerevan have introduced martial law and mobilization. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, including civilian casualties. Baku claims to have taken control of several villages and strategic heights in Nagorno-Karabakh. Yerevan reports shelling of its territory.

The conflict over 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.