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Karabakh settlement should not transform into platform for Russian-US rivalry — Kremlin

On the evening of October 25, Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers approved a Nagorno-Karabakh humanitarian ceasefire brokered by the US

MOSCOW, October 26. /TASS/. The Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process should not become a platform for political rivalry between Moscow and Washington, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

"The regulation of the Karabakh crisis, which is now in an acute phase, should not be and cannot be a platform for any rivalry or competition," Peskov said, answering a question on whether the Kremlin thinks that the US achieved more than Russia in this regard.

The spokesman stressed that "as a co-chair of the [OSCE] Minsk Group, Russia is ready to welcome any steps that can help stop the war." "Right now, we continue carefully monitoring the situation on the line of contact between opposing parties. We still think that peaceful regulation is the only possible way to resolve this issue," Peskov stated.

On the evening of October 25, Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers approved a Nagorno-Karabakh humanitarian ceasefire brokered by the US, which was set to enter into force on Monday morning. However, both sides have accused each other of violating the agreement.

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. Hostilities in the region continue despite the previously reached ceasefire agreements.

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.