Washington: US State Secretary Antony Blinken on Friday (local time) spoke with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and called for a de-escalation in and around Nagorno-Karabakh.
"Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Secretary Blinken assured Prime Minister Pashinyan that the United States is watching the situation in and around Nagorno-Karabakh closely," a State Department press release said. Blinken urged direct dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve issues related to, or resulting from, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Blinken also spoke with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Secretary Blinken called for de-escalation and urged direct dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia to resolve issues.
According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces recently breached the ceasefire in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in the area of the height of Sarybaba.
Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan with Armenian support after a bloody post-Soviet conflict in the early 1990s. In 2020, Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a war over the region and Baku successfully won back part of the territory controlled by the separatists.
Under the terms of a subsequent ceasefire, Russian peacekeepers were deployed to protect the remainder of the separatist-held territory. Both sides accuse each other of breaches, and in recent days violence has flared.
"The situation in the zone of responsibility of the contingent is aggravated. In the area of the height of Sarybaba, the ceasefire regime was breached by the armed forces of Azerbaijan," the Russian Defence Ministry said.
"The command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, together with representatives of the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides, is taking measures to stabilize the situation," it added.
The Azerbaijani military captured several heights in Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday, the Defence Ministry's press office told Sputnik.
According to the ministry, Armenian soldiers committed sabotage against the Azerbaijani military in violation of trilateral agreements between Baku, Yerevan and Moscow.
"As a result of the response operation carried out by the units of the Azerbaijan military, several heights in Karabakh were taken under control," the office said.