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Macron, Putin and Trump call for immediate Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire

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An apartment building seen on Wednesday with damage allegedly caused by shelling in fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh
An apartment building seen on Wednesday with damage allegedly caused by shelling in fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh   -   Copyright  Aziz Karimov/AP
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The leaders of France, Russia and the United States have jointly called for an immediate ceasefire in the Caucasus as skirmishes between Armenia and Azerbaijani forces entered a fifth day.

Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump condemned the escalation of violence and said both sides should resume negotiations for a peace settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to a statement issued by the Kremlin on Thursday, the three leaders said they “mourn the victims and express our condolences to the families of those killed and wounded.”

They added they were representing the OSCE Minsk Group, a collection of countries that came together in 1992 to find a solution to the conflict.

The statement was issued after the French president held separate phone calls with Putin and Trump.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose country has offered strong support to Azerbaijan, has dismissed the OSCE Minsk Group’s initiative.

Laurence Broers, from the Russia and Eurasia programme at the Chatham House think-tank, said Turkey's involvement in the escalation was a major reason behind the current flare-up being one of the most protracted seen since the two sides agreed to a truce in 1994.

He told Euronews: “If we look back towards the last major escalation in April 2016, at day four, Russia had already brokered a ceasefire.

“I think there is reduced convening power, reduced brokering power for the Kremlin, he continued, adding that Azerbaijan had "fewer incentives to agree to a ceasefire.”

Skirmishes broke out between Azerbaijani and Armenia forces in the Caucasian mountains on Sunday and dozens of people have been killed in this latest flare-up of violence.

The two former Soviet states fought a bloody war over the mountainous region in the early 1990s, but there have been sporadic incidents of violence since a 1994 truce as the dispute remains unresolved.