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Red Cross Ready to Help Victims of Nagorno-Karabakh Violence

© Sputnik / Iliya Pitalev / Go to the photo bankHouses destroyed during the war in the town of Shusha in the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
Houses destroyed during the war in the town of Shusha in the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic - Sputnik International
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is ready to help those affected by resumed violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, ICRC Europe and Central Asia Regional Director Patrick Vial said on Sunday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Saturday, Armenia and Azerbaijan noted a sharp escalation of the situation in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area, with both sides accusing each other of violating the ceasefire that has been in place since 1994.

"We are ready to assist and support those affected by the recent escalation of fighting, as well as to act as a neutral intermediary between the parties…All sides to the conflict have an obligation to respect the rules of international humanitarian law. As per these rules, the parties must ensure that civilian life and infrastructure is protected", Vial said, as quoted in an ICRC press release published on its website.

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In its statement, the Red Cross stressed its concern with the humanitarian impact of the fighting, noting reports of casualties, including civilians, on both sides of the conflict.

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh began in 1988, when the Armenian-dominated autonomous region sought to secede from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, before proclaiming independence after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991. In September 2015, the conflict escalated, with the sides blaming each other for violating the truce.

The ICRC has been operating in the region since 1992. The committee's mission is engaged in helping communities on both sides of the contact line, as well as working to find missing persons and acting as a neutral intermediary in transferring and repatriating detained persons.

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