Seventy victims of fighting between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Kyrgyzstan announced on Sunday that its death toll in clashes on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border rose to 36, Interfax reported, citing the Kyrgyz Ministry of Health. Tajikistan announced on Sunday that 35 people had been killed on its side.

Tajik and Kyrgyz forces began shelling each other on Wednesday, and border disputes dating back to the days of the Soviet Union are believed to be the cause, just like in the past. The line dividing the two republics was not precisely marked in some sections and divided ethnically related population groups in others.

On Sunday, Putin spoke with Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov and his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rakhmon, the Kremlin announced. The Russian president called on both sides to prevent an escalation of the conflict and take steps to resolve the situation “exclusively by peaceful, political and diplomatic means as soon as possible,” the Kremlin said, adding that Putin had offered to mediate.

The truce did not last

Although Bishkek and Dushanbe agreed on a truce on Friday, September 16, they immediately accused each other of repeatedly violating it. Both sides used tanks, mortars, artillery and rockets to fight.

According to Kyrgyz authorities, 130 people were injured and 137,000 residents of border regions were evacuated on the Kyrgyz side. Comparable numbers from the Tajik side are not available.