MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin met with a senior International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Tuesday to discuss cooperation in overcoming the humanitarian crisis in the conflict-hit self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.
During Vershinin’s talks with the ICRC Assistance Division head, Pascal Hundt, the sides "discussed in detail issues of cooperation between Russia and ICRC, placing emphasis on overcoming the humanitarian consequences of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
On December 8, the Russian government allocated 2 million Swiss francs (about $2,25 million) to the ICRC, for efforts aimed at mitigating consequences of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict before the end of this year.
Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. 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.
On November 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting from November 10. The Russian leader said the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides would maintain the positions that they had held and Russian peacekeepers would be deployed to the region. Besides, Baku and Yerevan must exchange prisoners and the bodies of those killed.