Putin seeks to calm Azerbaijan and Armenia after 49 killed in clashes

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TBILISI (Reuters) -Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday sought to end fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan after border clashes killed at least 49 Armenian soldiers and raised fears of another fully-fledged war in the former Soviet Union.

Russia, the United States and France called for restraint after the most deadly fighting since Armenia and Azerbaijan waged a six-week war over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020.

Armenia said several towns near the border with Azerbaijan, including Jermuk, Goris and Kapan, were shelled in the early hours of Tuesday. Yerevan said it had responded to what it called a “large-scale provocation” by the Azerbaijan.

Baku said it was attacked by Armenia. Reuters was unable to immediately verify battlefield accounts from either side.

“It is difficult to overestimate the role of the Russian Federation, the role of Putin personally,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“The president is naturally is making every effort to help deescalate tensions at the border,” Peskov said.

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