Putin says Karabakh’s deaths were exacerbated’ by the panic of diplomatic staff

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that 5,000 people had been killed’ in weeks of fighting in the mountainous province of Nagorno-Karabakh when the world leaders clashed.


Putin says Karabakh’s deaths were exacerbated’ by the panic of diplomatic staff

Armenian separatists who support Yerevan, who declared independence because the Soviet Union was embroiled in a conflict that erupted into full-scale fighting again last month, control the disputed region in Azerbaijan.


The Prime Minister of Armenia, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has denied the call for peace, and released two fighters on the ground after the militants accused the other side of violations.


Putin said in a televised address on Thursday that the two sides had lost nearly 2,000 lives in the fighting, which left thousands homeless and that both sides were accused’ of war crimes.


"The total number of deaths is already close to 5, 000," Putin said.


Armenian separatists and the Azerbaijani army have claimed devastating damage to military hardware and personnel.


However, the recent outbreak of fighting that began on September 27 has resulted in less than 1,000 confirmed deaths, including civilians. It is believed’ that Azerbaijan has not disclosed its military casualties.


- End of Diplomacy -


End of Diplomacy

After nearly a month of fighting, Azerbaijan has repeatedly boasted of military gains, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan acknowledged this week that his country was facing a "difficult situation" on the front lines.


Aliyev made the key claim on Thursday - denied by Armenia - that his army now has full control of the border with Iran.


"The state border between Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran has been completely secured through the liberation of the town of Agbend," he said on Twitter.


Baku has never hidden its desire to gain full control of Karabakh and the seven territories, but analysts say it will fight for it only through military means.


Yet diplomacy is not over, as Pashinyan reject any diplomatic solution to the conflict for the moment, and Aliyev has recently vowed to hunt down the Armenian army "like dogs". ۔


After the diplomat left for Moscow this week for talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia will meet separately with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Friday.


Putin said Thursday that he was in "constant" contact with Pashinyan and Aliyev at the point where he spoke to them "several times a day."


- 'Calm tension'.


'Calm tension'

On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke with the two leaders and met with Armenian President Armen Sarkissian.


The search for a long-term solution to the conflict - one of the most enduring issues remaining since the collapse of the Soviet Union - is in the hands of the Minsk Group of Regional Powers, led by France, Russia and the United States.


The group broke the ceasefire in 1994, but at the same time lacked the political will to find a lasting solution to the conflict.


Pashinyan says the Minsk Group's roadmap for peace is now unacceptable, and Azerbaijan says that after nearly 30 years of stalemate, its staunch ally and military backer, Turkey, should be placed’ on the negotiating table.


On Thursday, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said he expected allied Turkey's influence to help prevent further fighting and called for an immediate ceasefire.


"Turkey is a valuable ally, but I also expect Turkey to use its significant influence in the region to defuse tensions."


In an interview with AFP, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which monitors the conflict, called on all parties to stop shelling civilians.


"We insist that the parties to the conflict abide by international humanitarian law" said Gerardo Moloeznik.


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