YEREVAN (ARKA)—Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has reiterated today that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be solved only by political means.
“We need long-term solutions for Karabakh, which can be reached only, I want to stress it, through political means. A compromise must be found,” he said at his annual marathon call-in conference. According to the Russian leader, the Karabakh conflict “is a very sensitive issue” and “we have to treat it very carefully in order not to harm.”
“It’s an old problem, a long-standing conflict that was in a frozen state. Unfortunately, there was this outbreak of violence, and we will do everything possible to find an acceptable solution for both parties,” he said.
Putin said that several years ago “we nearly, it seemed to me, got very close to finding that compromise on both sides, but unfortunately it did not happen.”
“We will work within international organizations and also bilaterally. We will continue this cooperation and the efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” he said.
Russia is interested in resolving the Karabakh conflict, because it wants to work with both Azerbaijan and Armenia, Putin said.
“In Russia there are very strong communities of Armenians and Azerbaijanis, millions of them. Thank God, in Russia they have no problems,” he said.
The Russian leader said that he knows both Armenians and Azerbaijanis, who, despite all the tragic events, continue to have very good interpersonal relationships.
“And I think it is correct, Russia will continue making its contribution to the settlement of the issue, but of course, the final decision is up to the peoples of Armenia and Azerbaijan,” he said.
In the early hours of April 2, Azerbaijan launched a large-scale offensive involving tanks, artillery and helicopters aiming to seize at least some territory in and around Karabakh. The intense fighting continued until the 5th of April. The NKR defense army successfully suppressed the aggressive actions of the enemy, inflicting heavy losses on its manpower and military hardware, forcing Azerbaijan to ask Russia to mediate a ceasefire.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted into armed clashes after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s as the predominantly Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan sought to secede from Azerbaijan and declared its independence backed by a successful referendum. A truce was brokered by Russia in 1994, although no permanent peace agreement has been signed.
Since then, Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent regions have been under the control of Armenian forces of Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh is the longest-running post-Soviet era conflict and has continued to simmer despite the relative peace of the past two decades, with snipers causing tens of deaths a year.