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Kremlin calls for immediate halt to fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh

Kremlin calls for immediate halt to fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh
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The Kremlin is calling for an immediate halt to the violent conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, making an appeal to Armenia and Azerbaijan to respect a delicate cease-fire and settle issues by diplomatic means.

Russia brokered a truce between Armenia and Azerbaijan Saturday, though the two sides have accused each other of violations such as attacks against citizens, Reuters reported.

However, the truce appears to be failing as the defense ministry in Nagorno-Karabakh a territory inside Azerbaijan though governed by ethnic Armenians is accusing Azeri forces of launching artillery and rocket attacks in several areas, The Guardian reported.

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The violence has led to more than 500 fatalities on both sides in the past 17 days.

Russian defense minister Sergey Shoygu appealed for peace in a phone call to the Azeri and Armenian defense ministers, pushing for the countries to "fully meet the commitments" made under the humanitarian cease-fire brokered by Moscow.

Both sides have denied violating the cease-fire, though the conflict has not been mutually exclusive. On Wednesday, Azerbaijan said it reserved the right to hit any military installations that targeted civilians and deflect movements into its territory.

The conflict has resulted in numerous international groups warning of a humanitarian crisis, with families displaced from their homes and the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic to make matters worse for residents.

The violence is the most serious since the 1991-94 war over Nagorno-Karabakh that resulted in nearly 30,000 fatalities. Fears are building over whether Russian or Turkey could be brought into the conflict, as the Kremlin maintains a defense pact with Armenia and Turkey is Azerbaijan's ally.

The Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida Supreme Court reinstates ban on curbside voting in Alabama MORE spoke on the issue, calling out the Trump administration for being "largely passive and disengaged" regarding the conflict.

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"Rather than delegating the diplomacy to Moscow, the administration must get more involved, at the highest levels," Biden said in a statement.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE joined a statement with France and Russia to call for an end to the fighting, but he refrained from calling out Turkey for interfering in the conflict. Trump has cultivated a relationship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Brazil's OECD candidacy is best chance for reform Watch live: Pompeo news conference MORE on Tuesday condemned both sides of the conflict and called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to respect the cease-fire agreement.

The Hill reached out to the White House for comment but did not immediately receive a reply.