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Putin urges Kyrgyz, Tajik leaders to de-escalate border tensions

(Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Border clashes between the two countries have left 81 dead.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the governments of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to avoid a military escalation after border clashes between the two countries left 81 dead.

Putin held telephone calls with Kyrgyzstan President Sadyr Japarov and Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon about the border standoff, according to a statement published on the Kremlin’s website on Sunday.

“Vladmir Putin called on the parties not to allow for further escalation and take measures for a quick and peaceful resolution of the situation,” the statement reads. Russia is prepared to provide assistance to restore stability, it adds.

Starting on Wednesday, Kyrgizstan and Tajikistan had engaged in skirmishes along their border that featured the use of drones, tanks and heavy artillery, according to reports by the Reuters news agency.

After a ceasefire was agreed to on Friday, both sides claimed to have suffered casualties, with Tajikistan saying 35 people had been killed, and Kyrgyzstan reporting 46 deaths and the evacuation of over 137,000 people from the disputed border area, Reuters reported.

The truce has largely been maintained since Friday despite several alleged incidents of shelling.

Meanwhile, Putin is pushing ahead with his war on Ukraine, despite recent setbacks. “The plan will not be adjusted,” Putin said on Friday in what were his first public comments on a surprise counteroffensive launched by Kyiv.

“The main goal is to liberate the entire territory of Donbas. This work continues despite the attempts of the Ukrainian army to launch a counteroffensive,” Putin said.

Source : Politico