Russian President Vladimir Putin explained Russia’s position on the Nagorno-Karabakh cease-fire on Thursday. Speaking at an annual news conference in Moscow, Putin stressed that the region is an integral part of Azerbaijan according to international law, Anadolu Agency reported.
“From the international legal point of view, all these territories are an integral part of the Republic of Azerbaijan. This is how our position was built in the Minsk Group, where Russia, the United States, and France are co-chairs. For many years, we have always assumed that the seven held areas around Nagorno-Karabakh should be returned to Azerbaijan,” he said.
The current status of Karabakh should remain unchanged under an obligatory condition of creating a communication channel between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, he said, adding that the Lachin corridor, connecting Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, was established for this purpose.
Putin stressed that the status of Nagorno-Karabakh “should be transferred to the future”, noting: “The status quo in Nagorno-Karabakh should be fixed.”
Asked about Turkey’s position in the conflict, Putin said: “Turkey defended, as they believe, the just cause of Azerbaijan, namely, the return of the territories that were occupied during the clashes in the 1990s.”
He refused to speculate about external reasons for the latest outbreak in Karabakh, saying: “The tension lasted for many years”.
“I don’t think it was due to any outside interference. Many times, there were tensions, clashes, and small shootouts. As a result, it developed into a conflict,” he said.
Putin noted that the trilateral agreement among Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan secured positions of the parties to the conflict at their locations when the agreement on the cease-fire was reached.
“This agreement on the cessation of hostilities is very important. Because it stopped the bloodshed, the civilians have stopped dying, this is an extremely important thing, this is fundamental. Everything else is secondary. Saving people’s lives and health is the most important task that we have solved,” he said.