YEREVAN, October 20. /TASS/. There is no need for Russia to get involved in the conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh, the problem now is to exclude Turkey from it, Armenian President Armen Sarkissian said on Tuesday.
"There is no need to pull Russia into the conflict. Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenians have already proved they can defend their land by themselves. There is no need to involve Russia into the conflict. Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenians have already proved they can defend their land by themselves. Instead of involving Russia or any other third country, it is necessary to disinvolve Turkey which is playing a destructive role in this matter," he said in an interview with France-24.
Touching on relations with Russia, the Armenian president stressed that Moscow "has for years been and is Armenia’s ally and the countries have trust-based relations."
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.
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.
Following Russia-initiated consultations in Moscow, Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed on a humanitarian ceasefire from 11:00 Moscow time on October 10 to exchange prisoners and the bodies of those killed.