MOSCOW — Turkey and other foreign powers should avoid any military intervention in the fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
“Any statements about any military support or military activity definitely add fuel to the fire,” Peskov told reporters in Moscow. “We are categorically against that.”
“We are calling on all countries, especially our partners such as Turkey, to do everything to convince the conflicting parties to stop hostilities and revert to a peaceful resolution of this protracted conflict by political-diplomatic means,” he said, according to the TASS news agency.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Baku “must take matters into its own hands” and end “Armenian occupation” of Karabakh.
“We stand by Azerbaijan on the field and at the [negotiating] table,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was reported to say on Tuesday. “Now we want to solve this problem completely.”
Armenia has decried the Turkish support for Azerbaijan. It has accused Ankara of being directly involved in the worst flare-up of violence in the Karabakh conflict in years and possibly decades.
Peskov said that Moscow is now “in constant contact with Yerevan, Baku and Ankara at various levels” regarding the fighting. He said it is also “collecting information” and “analyzing the situation” on the ground. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary would not be drawn on possible Russian actions in the region.
Russia has about 5,000 troops stationed in Armenia. Russian-Armenian treaties commit it to protecting the South Caucasus country’s internationally recognized borders with Azerbaijan, Turkey and other neighbors. Despite these close ties Moscow has not openly sided with Yerevan in the Karabakh conflict.
Peskov stressed that his country maintains a “balanced position” in order to be able to “effectively offer its mediating role in the settlement of this conflict.”
The Kremlin press service said that “the Armenian side initiated a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan” when the leaders “continued to discuss the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.”
“Putin expressed serious concerns over the continuing hostilities. The pressing need was emphasized to cease fire by the opposing parties and take steps to de-escalate the crisis,” the Kremlin noted.
The press service of the Armenian government added that Prime Minister Pashinyan presented in detail “the developments taking place in the wake of the military aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan
This is the second phone call between Putin and Pashinyan in the last few days, their previous phone call took place on Sunday.