Russia has called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to end immediately clashes in the occupied Upper Karabakh region.

“We call on the parties to immediately cease fire and start negotiations in order to stabilize the situation,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Border clashes broke out earlier in the day when Armenian forces targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions in the border region, leading to casualties.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when Armenian military occupied the Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh region, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

Multiple UN resolutions demand the withdrawal of the occupational forces.

The OSCE Minsk Group — co-chaired by France, Russia and the US — was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire was agreed in 1994.

In a separate statement, Russia said Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed the latest situation in a phone talk with Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.

He expressed serious concern over the ongoing large-scale fighting on the line of contact, and reports of casualties.

Lavrov also exchanged views on the escalation with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

“The need for an early cease-fire and stabilization of the situation on the contact line is stressed. Condolences were expressed to the families and friends of the victims,” the press release said. 

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