Russia agrees to aid Armenia if Azeri clashes spread to its territory

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Oct. 31 (UPI) — Russia agreed Saturday to aid Armenia if Azerbaijan conflict expands beyond Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenian territory.

In a statement, Russian Foreign Ministry said it will offer “all the necessary assistance” if the Azeri clashes spill into it territory under the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the countries, which dates back to August 29, 1997.

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Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin requesting “urgent consultations” on the type of security assistance it could provide under the treaty.

Earlier this month, a Russia-mediated ceasefire took effect to bring a temporary stop to fighting over control of the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, but hours later Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of violating the agreement.

The territory is administered by ethnic Armenians, but located within Azerbaijan’s borders. Armenia and Azerbaijan have disagreed over its control since the Soviet Union dissolved in the early 1990s.

Armenians settled in the Nagonro-Karabakh region after the Soviet Union dissolved, but it is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

Less than 24 hours after the ceasefire agreement went into effect, Azerbaijan said Armenia shelled its second-largest city of Ganja, killing at lease nine civilians and injuring 34 people.

In mid-October, Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed to a new temporary humanitarian ceasefire agreement. The conflict between the two countries has become more intense since Sept. 27, when Pashinyan declared martial law amid both sides accusing each other of attacks on civilians.

Turkey has stood with Azerbaijan in the military conflict.

In September, Russia criticized the Turkish government for sending 1,000 Syrian jihadist recruits, trained by a-Sham and working for a private Turkish security firm, to the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.