Armenian leader Nikol Pashinian urged Russia on Saturday to consider providing security assistance to end more than a month of fighting over the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The fighting represents the biggest escalation in decades in a long conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the separatist territory. As Azerbaijani troops pushed farther into Nagorno-Karabakh, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to quickly discuss possible security aid to Armenia.
There was no immediate response from the Kremlin.
Russia, which has a military base in Armenia and has signed a pact obliging it to protect its ally in case of foreign aggression, faces a delicate balancing act, of trying to also maintain good ties with Azerbaijan and avoid a showdown with Turkey.
Pashinian's request puts Russia in a precarious position: joining the fighting would be fraught with unpredictable consequences and risk an open conflict.
Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. The latest outburst of hostilities began Sept. 27 and left hundreds — perhaps thousands — dead, marking the worst escalation of fighting since the war's end.