Kyrgyzstan confirmed, on Sunday, that the death toll in the border conflict with Tajikistan had risen to 36, and the injuries to 129.
Forces from the two former Soviet republics clashed over a border dispute from September 14-16, accusing each other of using tanks, mortars, artillery and attack drones to target border military posts and nearby residential communities, killing at least 54.
Border issues in Central Asia largely date back to the Soviet era, when Moscow tried to divide the region among groups whose residential areas were often located among other ethnic areas.
Kyrgyzstan also said it had evacuated nearly 137,000 people from the conflict zone, while Tajikistan did not release any official casualty figures, but security sources said 30 people were killed in the past week.
The two sides agreed to a cease-fire on September 16, and the agreement has largely held since, despite a number of bombings said to have taken place.
Putin urges de-escalation
For its part, the Kremlin said on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made two phone calls with the presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan following clashes on the border between the two countries.
“Vladimir 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 stressed Russia’s readiness to provide the necessary assistance to ensure stability in the border region between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan,” the Kremlin added.