In a Sunday phone call, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan discussed the border clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.

“The Russian side expressed deep concern over the continuation of large-scale military conflicts,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

“During the meeting, it was noted that it is important to take all necessary efforts to prevent further conflict and, more importantly, to halt military steps,” it added.

Border clashes broke out earlier in the day after Armenian forces targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions. The number of casualties is not yet known.

Armenia has once again proved that it is the biggest obstacle to peace and stability in the region, said an earlier statement by Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, adding that Turkey will stand with Azerbaijan by all means.

Baku has the right of self-defense to protect its people and territory, it said.

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

Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions as well as many international organizations demand the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying 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.

* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur

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