Russia is not interested in the Karabakh conflict persisting. In fact, the developments cannot satisfy anyone and demand team efforts toward Caucasian stability, President Vladimir Putin said to a news conference in the Azeri capital. As the conflict rages on, it prevents Russia from full-blooded contacts with Azerbaijan and Armenia, he stressed, The issue was prominent on the agenda as the Russian and Azeri presidents were conferring in a narrow circle, added Mr. Putin. Though extremely involved, the situation does not defy settlement, what with hopeful efforts by Presidents Geidar Aliev of Azerbaijan and Robert Kocharyan of Armenia. Russia is willing to mediate if necessary, and to act independently as co-chair country of the OSCE Minsk group for Karabakh settlement, he said. The summiteers agreed to intensify Russian contacts with Azerbaijan and Armenia to help them to meet each other halfway on the issue, pointed out President Putin, RIA Novosti announces. Karabakh, an Armenian-populated enclave in Azerbaijan, was site of bitter fighting shortly before and after the Soviet Union collapsed.
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Eyewitnesses said that explosions could be heard in the centre of Kyiv. Smoke was seen rising above Zhuliany Airport (Kyiv International Airport)