Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan discussed clashes over the Nagorno-Karabakh region in a phone call on Sunday, the Kremlin said in a statement.
It said the conversation noted that it was important not to allow further escalation of the conflict and it was necessary to halt all military action.
Armenian Defence Ministry said on Sunday it was checking reports about combatants from Syria who are allegedly fighting for the Azerbaijan’s side in clashes over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh province.
Hikmet Hajiyev, the foreign policy aide to the Azeri president, dismissed the report carried by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as “nonsense”.
At least 16 military and several civilians were killed on Sunday in the heaviest clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 2016, reigniting concern about stability in the South Caucasus, a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and gas to world markets.
Also, Pashinyan called on the international community on Sunday to ensure that Turkey does not involve itself in Armenia’s conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, trading barbs with Ankara.
Turkey, an Azeri ally, had earlier sharply criticised Armenia after clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces broke out in the morning, saying Yerevan was an obstacle to peace and vowing to continue its support for Baku.
Pashinyan said Turkey’s behaviour could have destructive consequences for the South Caucasus and neighbouring regions.
Both sides, which fought a war in the 1990s, reported fatalities. Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region that is inside Azerbaijan but is run by ethnic Armenians, declared martial law and mobilised its male population.
The military command of Azerbaijan proposed to the command of the Armenian garrison located in the settlement of Agdere to lay down its arms and surrender, Azerbaijan’s defence ministry said in a statement. The armed forces of Nagorno-Karabakh described the statement as disinformation.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Sunday it was concerned about the humanitarian impact of the conflict escalation and called on the sides “to take all measures necessary to ensure that civilian life and infrastructure is respected and protected”.