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Nearly 5,000 Dead in Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: Russia’s Putin

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that almost 5,000 people have been killed in fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

This is far higher than the death toll given by the two sides.

Mr Putin said that he speaks to the two sides several times a day, and would not be taking sides in the conflict.

He said that Moscow disagrees with Turkey – which supports Azerbaijan – over the conflict.

The Russian president also called on the United States to assist in seeking peace in the region.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of violating humanitarian ceasefires in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Fighting flared last month over the territory, which is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but run by ethnic Armenians.

This is the worst violence in the region since a six-year war over the territory ended with a ceasefire in 1994.

Russia is in a military alliance with Armenia and has an army base in the country. But it also has close ties with Azerbaijan.

“There are a lot of casualties from both sides, more than 2,000 from each side,” the Russian president told a televised meeting, adding that the number was “nearing 5,000”.

This is far higher than previous estimates, with the most recent official death toll at under 1,000.

Nagorno-Karabakh’s governing authorities said 874 of its military personnel and 37 civilians have lost their lives since 27 September. Azerbaijan says 61 Azeri civilians have been killed, but has not announced its military casualties.

SOURCE: BBC NEWS