Baku, Azerbaijan – Putin and Macron have called for an immediate ceasefire between ethnic Armenian forces and Azerbaijan in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region, said Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have called for an immediate ceasefire between ethnic Armenian forces and Azerbaijan in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region, said Russia on October 1. The official death toll in the bloody armed conflict passed 100 and the warring parties said that they would continue fighting.

Russia said in a statement that the “sharp aggravation” in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was thoroughly discussed and the leaders expressed “serious concern” over the ongoing large-scale hostilities. The duo noted that there is no alternative to political and diplomatic process to resolve the crisis, expressing their readiness to make a statement on behalf of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – Russia, France and the United States.

The two former Soviet states are in an armed stand-off for years over the Nagorno-Karabakh, a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, and heavy clashes re-erupted on September 27, prompting fears of an all-out war. Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan but it remains occupied because the region is controlled by ethnic Armenians.

Martial law in conflict zones
Azerbaijan has declared martial law in border areas and Armenia has declared it across the country and mobilised its male population after the situation escalated in the disputed region. Armenia has even accused Turkey of meddling in the conflict by sending thousands of mercenaries from Syria, a claim swiftly rejected by Turkey.

The conflict broke away in the early 1990s with tens of thousands dying in the armed clashes and a Russian-brokered ceasefire, the Bishkek Protocol, was signed in 1994. However, the Bishkek Protocol has failed to turn into a tangible peace process since both sides have continued violating the ceasefire on numerous occasion and the latest clash could further escalate the tensions. A possible war could severely impact the international markets because Nagorno-Karabakh serves as a corridor for oil and gas pipelines from the Caspian Sea to world markets.