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Turkey rebuffs Russia, France and U.S. over Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire moves

Armenia said two French nationals working for France’s Le Monde newspaper had been wounded during Azeri shelling of the town of Martuni in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region’s foreign ministry said the two journalists had been operated on by local doctors. An Armenian government source said they were in critical condition and had been transported to Yerevan.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on the need for a ceasefire in a telephone call late on Wednesday. Their joint statement with U.S. President Donald Trump was issued hours later on Thursday.

Macron’s office said he and Putin had shared “concern regarding the sending of Syrian mercenaries by Turkey to Nagorno-Karabakh.”

A Kremlin statement did not mention this. But the Russian news agency TASS quoted the Kremlin as saying the alleged deployment of fighters from Syria and Libya to Nagorno-Karabakh was extremely dangerous.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart had spoken by phone and expressed their willingness to cooperate closely to stabilize the situation, Lavrov’s ministry said.

Turkey has said it will “do what is necessary” to support Azerbaijan, but has denied sending mercenaries.

Macron, whose country is home to about 600,000 people of Armenian origin, has accused Turkey of “warlike” rhetoric.

A German government source said EU leaders would discuss the conflict at an ongoing summit meeting.

(Additional reporting by Elisabeth Pineau, John Irish and Michel Rose in Paris, by Darya Korsunskaya, Katya Golubkova and Maxim Rodionov in Moscow, and by Daren Butler and Ezgi Erkoyun in Turkey; Writing by Timothy Heritage; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Mark Heinrich and Rosalba O’Brien)

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