Russia has offered to host talks on ending the fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the offer in calls to both governments, his office said – adding that he had urged a halt to "warlike rhetoric".
More than 100 deaths have been reported since Sunday, in the heaviest fighting in years over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Officially part of Azerbaijan, it is governed by ethnic Armenians
Armenia and Azerbaijan – two former Soviet republics – fought a war in 1988-1994 over the region. There are growing fears that international powers could be dragged into the conflict.
On Wednesday, Mr Lavrov's office said he had called the foreign ministers of both Armenia and Azerbaijan to say Russia was willing to host talks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the fighting with French President Emmanuel Macron in a separate telephone call. Both leaders reiterated calls by world powers for an immediate ceasefire.
Russia is part of a military alliance with Armenia and has a military base in the country. However, it also has close ties to the government of Azerbaijan.
Armenia backs the self-declared republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, but has never officially recognised it.
It is unclear what triggered the recent fighting. On Wednesday, Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev vowed to fight on until Armenian forces left the territory.
"We only have one condition: Armenian armed forces must unconditionally, fully, and immediately leave our lands," he said.
Azerbaijan published video of what it said was the destruction of two "enemy" tanks and said an Armenian battalion had fled the area around the village of Tonashen.
Armenian media said three civilians had been killed in an Azerbaijani air attack on the town of Martakert on Wednesday. State news agency Armenpress said seven civilians and 80 service personnel had been killed since the fighting began.
Armenia's defence ministry also released a picture of an Armenian SU-25 jet it said had been shot down by a Turkish F-16 on Tuesday. Turkey, a staunch ally of Azerbaijan, has rejected the allegation as "cheap propaganda".
One fighter has told BBC Arabic he was recruited in northern Syria last week and sent via Turkey to fight in the conflict. Ilnur Cevik, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, dismissed the report as "completely unfounded".
The conflict has raised tensions between Nato allies France and Turkey. France is home to many people of Armenian ancestry while Turkey has traditionally supported its fellow Turkic nation Azerbaijan.
On Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused France of supporting Armenian occupation in Azerbaijan.
Mr Macron hit back, criticising "warlike messages" from Turkey "which essentially remove any of Azerbaijan's inhibitions in recapturing Nagorno-Karabakh".
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Dozens killed in suspected jihadist attack in Niger
Dozens of people were killed in an attack in Niger on Saturday, in a suspected jihadist attack.
The attack took place around 12:00 CET in the Tchomo-Bangou village in Tillabéri, a western region bordering Mali.
“The assailants surrounded the village and killed up to 50 people,” a local radio journalist said anonymously. “The wounded have been evacuated to the hospital in Ouallam.”
It came on the day provisional results for the first round of the presidential election, held on December 27, were released.
Mohamed Bazoum, the candidate for the ruling Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) and a former interior minister, is in the lead with 39.3 per cent of the votes. Bazoum has vowed to strengthen the country’s fight against Islamist groups.
The second round of the election is to be held on February 21.
Niger has been a target for jihadist attacks for years, particularly in the western and southeastern parts of the country.
On December 21, six days before the presidential poll, seven soldiers were killed in Tillabéri. In May 2020, twenty people, including children, were also killed in two of the region’s villages.
Niger votes in presidential and legislative elections
People in Niger began voting in the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday.
Mohamed Bazoum, the right-hand man of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou is the favourite to win.
The sixty-year-old former interior minister is aiming for outright victory in the first round — something that no candidate has done before.
He’s focussing on security and education.
Over 7 million people are eligible to vote. But some voters, like Gambina Moumouni, simply want a president they can trust.
“We pray to Allah to choose us the president who has the most mercy for the people, a president who will not betray the country and who will not betray the trust of the people, that is our wish. It is also our wish that Allah may help to make the poor, the peasants, the (cattle) breeders happy.
Thirty candidates are standing including two former presidents and two former prime ministers, but according to seasoned observers in the region, the poll is arousing little enthusiasm among the population.
Niger is the world’s poorest according to the UN’s Human Development Index and also one of those hardest hit by climate change.
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