"Nearly 5,000 deaths in total on both sides" – Putin on the Karabakh war
During his speech at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, Russian President Vladimir Putin touched upon the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Here are some of the main points of his speech:
“Let’s start from the beginning, with Nagorno-Karabakh and whom we support. You said that Russia has always had special ties with Armenia. But we have always had special ties with Azerbaijan. More than 2 million Armenians and about 2 million Azerbaijanis live in Russia. These are not only those people who came for temporary work, but also those who live here almost permanently.”
“There are many losses on both sides. According to our data – on both sides – there are more than 2,000 dead. The total death toll is already approaching 5,000. I draw your attention to the fact that over the 10 years of the war in Afghanistan, 13,000 people died in the Soviet army. And here in such a short period of time – almost 5″.
“For us, both Armenia and Azerbaijan are equal partners. And it is a great tragedy for us when people die there. We want to build full-fledged relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan.”
“It seemed that with just a little more time, we will find a solution. Unfortunately, this did not happen, and today we have a conflict in its worst form.”
“As you know, I am in very close contact with both President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan. I talk to them on the phone several times a day. Several times a day.”
“This is a special situation for us. Yes, a group was created in 1992 with Russia, France and the United States as co-chairs, we are responsible for organizing the negotiation process. I am 100% sure that all the participants in the process sincerely strive for the situation to be resolved, but no one is as interested in this as Russia.”
“For example, I understand that our positions [with Turkey] do not coincide with regard to the situation in the South Caucasus, because we believe that all the same, it is necessary to resolve controversial issues of this kind not by force, not by weapons, but in a diplomatic manner, at the negotiating table. Yes, of course you could say that negotiations have been going on for 30 years but [that there has been no result]. Well, this, in my opinion, does not mean that you need to start shooting.”