MOSCOW, October 2./TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan expressed concerns in their phone call on Friday over reports about the participation of militants from the Middle East in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Putin and Pashinyan "continued discussing the situation in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Both sides expressed serious concern in connection with incoming information about the involvement in hostilities of gunmen from illegal armed units from the Middle East," the Kremlin press service said. The phone call was initiated by Armenia, it added.
"Putin once again put an emphasis on the need for an immediate cessation of fighting and restart of political-diplomatic efforts towards the settlement of the conflict - in line with the October 1, 2020 statement from the presidents of the countries co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France and the United States)," the Kremlin said.
Putin and Pashinyan also agreed to continue contacts in different formats.
Tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh
Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in 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.
In a joint statement on Thursday, Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Donald Trump of the United States and Emmanuel Macron of France called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to end hostilities and to resume talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without preconditions.
"We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the relevant military forces," the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group said in the joint statement.
"We also call on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to commit without delay to resuming substantive negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions, under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs," the statement said.