At talks near Moscow, the presidents of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have signed a declaration of understanding on the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The leaders have vowed to resolve the conflict on the region through “peaceful means”.
The territory’s mostly ethnic Armenian population broke away from Azerbaijan in a war in the early 1990s. They now run their own affairs, with support from Armenia. Along with France and the US, Russia is part of what is known as the Minsk Group, which has been trying to mediate in the conflict.
But observers say it is unusual for Moscow to act directly as mediator, and is clearly trying to assert its influence in the Caucasus. About 35,000 people have been killed in the conflict, with more than a million forced from their homes.