MOSCOW, October 1. /TASS/. Bellicose statements and actions by third parties concerning the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh may raise tensions in the South Caucasus, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday.
"We consider any bellicose statements and actions by third parties that can escalate tensions further and destabilize the situation in the South Caucasus as counterproductive and irresponsible, which may have unpredictable consequences," she pointed out. Zakharova reiterated Russia’s calls on the parties to the conflict to "show maximum restraint."
"Bloodshed must end immediately," the senior Russian diplomat stressed. She noted that there was no alternative to finding a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"Regional issues should be resolved through political and diplomatic means," Zakharova concluded.
Proof of militants' relocation to conflict zone
Russia knows from its own sources that foreign militants are being moved to the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said, when asked what information the Russian Foreign Ministry relied on when it issued a commentary on Wednesday it was impermissible to let militants be deployed to the conflict area.
"We do have such evidence. There is such information at our disposal. You are quite right. There were such materials, borrowed from the social networks and corresponding publications, but in the commentary that was uploaded to the Foreign Ministry's website we certainly relied on our own findings, facts and sources," Zakharova said.
"The commentary underscored our general concern over these facts, but in this particular case I would prefer not to disclose the details," she said when asked what countries were using militants in the conflict.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary on its website on Wednesday that militants from Syria and Libya were being redeployed to the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for participation in hostilities.
Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.
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.