Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan border conflict: Putin calls for de-escalation as death toll nears 100


Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan said on Sunday that nearly 100 people have died in their border conflict, as a fragile ceasefire between Central Asian nations and their common ally continued for a second day. Russia Urge de-escalation.

The former Soviet republics clashed over a border dispute from September 14-16, accusing each other of using tanks, mortars, rocket artillery, and drones to attack outposts and nearby settlements.

Both countries border China, while Tajikistan also has a long border Afghanistan.

The long stretches of the frontier dividing the two former Soviet states are in dispute. Clashes in April 2021 left more than 50 people dead and raised the prospect of a broader conflict.

Central Asian border issues stem largely from the Soviet era, when Moscow attempted to divide the region between groups that were often settled among other races.

Kyrgyzstan late on Sunday reported 13 more deaths in the fighting, adding to the previous death toll of 46. The former Soviet country also said 102 people were injured.

Kyrgyzstan said earlier it had evacuated about 137,000 people from the conflict zone. The government declared Monday a day of mourning for the victims.

Describing the conflict as an invasion, Kyrgyz media reported on Sunday that some of the evacuees had already started returning to their homes.

On Sunday, Tajikistan reported 35 deaths. It did not report any mass evictions.

The Tajik Foreign Ministry said that Kyrgyzstan continued a media campaign against it and noted that Kyrgyz President Sadir Gabarov used the term “enemy” to refer to Tajikistan in his speech on Saturday.

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The two sides agreed on 16 September to a ceasefire, which has largely held despite several alleged bombing incidents.

Russian President Vladimir Putin He spoke by phone with Gabarov and veteran Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on Sunday in the Kremlin He said.

Putin’s office said in a statement that Putin urged the two sides to prevent further escalation and take measures to resolve the situation “exclusively by peaceful, political and diplomatic means as soon as possible,” and offered assistance.

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