Russia need not be involved in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh; the problem now is to exclude Turkey from it, Armenian President Armen Sarkissian said on Tuesday.
"There is no need to involve Russia in the conflict. The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh have already shown that they can defend their land on their own. It is necessary to disinvolve Turkey, which plays a destructive role in this matter, instead of involving Russia or any other third country," he said in an interview with France-24.
"The Armenian president, touching on relations with Russia, stressed that Moscow" has been and is Armenia's ally for years and that countries have trust-based relations.
After the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the break-up of the Soviet Union but was mainly populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988. In 1992-1994, after Azerbaijan lost control of them, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories. The Nagorno-Karabakh settlement talks under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs, Russia, France, and the United States, have been ongoing since 1992.
On September 27, renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted, with intense battles raging in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. In the summer of 2014, in April 2016, and this past July, the area experienced flare-ups of violence. Martial law was imposed by Azerbaijan and Armenia and mobilization efforts were launched. Both parties to the conflict, including civilians, have reported casualties.
Following consultations initiated by Russia in Moscow, Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed to a humanitarian ceasefire on 10 October, starting at 11:00 Moscow time, to exchange prisoners and the bodies of those killed.