Russian President Vladimir Putin said ensuring peace and stability in the southern Caucasus region of Karabakh is crucial ahead of a trilateral meeting on Monday with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia – who fought a war over the region in fall 2020 – according to the country’s presidential press service.
“The most important thing is to ensure peace and stability in Karabakh, and unblocking the transport infrastructure,” Putin said in opening remarks during a bilateral meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Russia’s port city of Sochi.
According to the Kremlin press service, Putin indicated that the conflict over Karabakh has been going on for many years and it needs to end, adding that Armenia has the “political will” to do so.
“We must work with you now, and then in a trilateral format, to find the key points that will allow us to move forward,” Putin expressed.
Pashinyan reportedly said that Armenia is ready to unblock regional communications with Azerbaijan “at any moment.”
Putin will also hold bilateral talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev before meeting with the both countries’ leaders in a trilateral format.
This September, deadly clashes on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border near Karabakh claimed nearly 300 lives.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Karabakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
In fall 2020, in 44 days of clashes, Baku liberated several cities, villages, and settlements from Armenian occupation, ending in a Moscow-brokered truce. The peace agreement is celebrated as a triumph in Azerbaijan.