ANKARA/MOSCOW – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that Russia, the United States, and France are allegedly supplying weapons to Armenia.
“What are they saying about our support to our Azerbaijani brothers? What are the Minsk three – the United States, Russia, France – saying? They support Armenia. They offer all possible support in terms of weapons,” he said on Sunday, TASS reported.
Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.
Following Russian-initiated peace consultations in Moscow, Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed on a humanitarian ceasefire from 11:00 Moscow time on October 10 to exchange prisoners and the bodies of those killed. However, the ceasefire has been violated multiple times since then.
Russia is also raising the issue of pro-Turkish terrorists from Syria and Libya, who are taking part in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, in its contacts with Turkey, and stresses that it is unacceptable to get them involved, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Monday.
Video from Syria’s Afrin shows a radical cleric recruiting terrorists for fighting in Azerbaijan
“Yes, we are discussing all the issues,” the deputy minister told reporters, when asked if this topic was raised at the talks with Ankara, RIA Novosti reported.
When asked if Russia said in these contacts that the use of pro-Turkish terrorists in this conflict was unacceptable, Bogdanov noted, “It goes without saying, of course.”
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Arstakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), a disputed territory that had officially been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.
In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs – Russia, France and the United States.