Russia, the US and France called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to agree to an "unconditional cease-fire," and a day after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg appealed in Ankara for Turkey to use its "considerable" regional influence to mediate in the conflict. "We are deeply concerned by the escalation of hostilities. All sides should immediately cease fighting and find a way forward towards a peaceful resolution," Stoltenberg said, after direct talks with Cavusoglu. "And I expect Turkey to use its considerable influence to calm tensions." The Kremlin again on Tuesday spoke out against the situation in the region: "So far the situation is deteriorating. People are still getting killed, which is absolutely unacceptable," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
For decades, Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a simmering conflict over the Karabakh region, which broke away from Baku in a 1990s war that claimed 30,000 lives. Armenia effectively controls most of the geographical area, including parts still technically recognized as belonging to Azerbaijan. The latest fighting is the worst since a 1994 truce between the two former Soviet republics. There are fears the ongoing clashes, which erupted late last month, could escalate into a full-scale war drawing in other powers such as Turkey and Russia. Turkey has close ties to Azerbaijan and a difficult relationship with Armenia.
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