The Line of Fire

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Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the governments of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to de-escalate military tensions, days after the two Central Asian neighbors engaged in deadly border clashes that left scores of people dead, Politico reported.

On Wednesday, the two former Soviet republics began fighting along their 600-mile border using drones, tanks and heavy artillery.

Both sides have claimed heavy casualties and blamed each other for the latest violence, the BBC noted Monday, with nearly 100 dead. Tajikistan said that at least 59 people have been killed, while Kyrgyzstan said that 35 of its citizens died in the skirmishes.

The Kyrgyz government also said about 137,000 people were forced to evacuate, although Tajikistan did not report any mass evacuations.

Following international pressure, both countries reached a ceasefire agreement Friday. As of Monday, the ceasefire has been largely upheld despite claims of shelling by both sides.

Putin urged the leaders of both nations to resolve the situation “exclusively by peaceful, political and diplomatic means as soon as possible.”

Last week’s fighting marks the latest flare-up between the two countries over borders that have been contested since the collapse of the USSR more than 30 years ago.

In 2021, similar border clashes resulted in the death of almost 50 people, but the recent violence is considered the deadliest in years.

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