MOSCOW, August 2 (RIA Novosti) – Recent escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which led to numerous casualties, is a serious violation of ceasefire agreements, a spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry “extends its most sincere condolences to the families of the victims” and “considers the events of the past few days a serious violation of ceasefire agreements and declared intention to find a political settlement of the conflict.”
“Further escalation is unacceptable. We urge all the warring sides to exercise restraint, give up the use of force and take urgent measures aimed at destabilizing the situation,” Maria Zakharova, the deputy director of the ministry’s information and press department, said in a statement.
Tensions along the contact line of Nagorno-Karabakh with Azerbaijan have been running high over the past few days.
On July 31, the army of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic announced that two of its soldiers had died in armed clashes with Azeri troops. Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry in its turn said that the country’s army had lost nine troops.
The Nagorno-Karabakh dispute flared up in 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region with predominantly ethnic Armenian population announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.
In September 1991, the Nagorno Karabakh Republic was proclaimed. Baku called the move illegal.
The armed conflict which erupted soon after had claimed the lives of up to 30,000 before a ceasefire was established in 1994. Since 1992, the OSCE Minsk Group and its co-chairs Russia, France and the United States have been negotiating a lasting and peaceful settlement of the conflict.
Armenia insists on international recognition of Nagorno-Karabah's right to self-determination, whereas Azerbaijan demands support for its territorial integrity.