Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan on Monday to try to broker a settlement to a longstanding conflict between the two ex-Soviet neighbors.
The peace talks took place as Putin’s military delivered a new missile barrage targeting Ukraine’s critical infrastructure in the conflict that has entered its ninth month.
In an initial meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Putin said the goals would be to ensure peace and stability, and unblock transportation infrastructure to help Armenia’s economic and social development. He also held a separate meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev ahead of the three-way summit.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994.