YEREVAN, March 1. /ARKA/. Russia accords special priority to the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the context of regional policy, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday.
“Our country is making significant and decisive efforts to assist the parties in finding a peaceful solution to this conflict. We will continue giving it our priority attention in the context of our policy in the region,” she said.
Zakharova described the conflict as ‘terrible and bloody’ that brought death and suffering to many innocent people: both Azerbaijanis and Armenians. ‘Russia has always considered and continues to consider it as a huge tragedy,” she said.
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.
On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations. 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.
On April 2, 2016, Azerbaijan launched military assaults along the entire perimeter of its contact line with Nagorno-Karabakh. Four days later a cease-fire was reached.