Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on the governments of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to avoid a military escalation after border clashes between the two countries left 81 dead.
Putin had phone calls with Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon over the border standoff, according to a statement posted on the Kremlin’s website on Sunday.
“Vladmir Putin called on the parties not to allow further escalation and to take steps for a quick and peaceful resolution of the situation,” the statement said. Russia is ready to provide assistance to restore stability, he added.
Starting Wednesday, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan engaged in skirmishes along their border that included the use of drones, tanks and heavy artillery, according to reports from the Reuters news agency.
After a ceasefire was agreed on Friday, both sides claimed to have suffered casualties, with Tajikistan saying 35 people had been killed and Kyrgyzstan reporting 46 dead and the evacuation of more than 137 000 people from the disputed border area, Reuters reported.
The truce has largely held since Friday despite several alleged incidents of shelling.
Meanwhile, Putin is continuing his war against Ukraine, despite recent setbacks. “The plan will not be adjusted,” Putin said on Friday in his first public comments on a surprise counteroffensive launched by Kyiv.
“The main goal is to liberate the entire territory of Donbass. This work continues despite attempts by the Ukrainian military to launch a counter-offensive,” Putin said.