Russia’s foreign ministry said that fighters from Syria and Libya were being deployed to the Nagorny Karabakh conflict and that it was “deeply concerned” by the development. “Fighters of illegal armed groups including from Syria and Libya are being deployed to the Nagorny Karabakh conflict zone in order to directly take part in fighting,” the foreign ministry said. “We are deeply concerned by these processes which not only escalate tensions in the conflict zone further but create long-lasting threats to security for all countries in the region.” Armenian and Azerbaijani forces are engaged in the heaviest fighting in years over Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian province that broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s during the collapse of the Soviet Union. Armenia has accused Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey of sending “mercenaries” to Karabakh. The Russian statement made no mention of Turkey, but called on the “leadership of interested states” to take measures to prevent “foreign terrorists and mercenaries” from being involved in the conflict. The confirmed death toll surpassed 100 people including civilians Wednesday and both sides are claiming to have inflicted heavy losses on opposing forces. Baku and Yerevan have ignored mounting international pressure for a ceasefire, as fears grow that the conflict could escalate into all-out war and draw in both Turkey and Russia. “We need to prepare for a long-term war,” the Karabakh separatist leader, Arayik Harutyunyan, said. Moscow, which has a military pact with Armenia but also good ties with Azerbaijan, has repeatedly called for an end to the fighting and on Wednesday offered to host negotiations. In separate phone conversations with his counterparts from both ex-Soviet countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reaffirmed Moscow’s “readiness” to organise a meeting. But the leaders of both countries showed no signs of being ready for talks. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev promised his military would keep fighting until Armenian troops withdraw fully from Karabakh. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said it was not “very appropriate” to speak of negotiations “at a time of intensive hostilities”. In the Armenian capital Yerevan, dozens of men – some already wearing military fatigues – gathered outside a recruitment office to join the fight. Officials in both countries have made claims of huge losses for the other side, but these have not been possible to verify. The Armenian side has recorded 104 military deaths and 23 civilians – eight Armenians and 15 Azerbaijanis – have been reported dead. Armenia and Azerbaijan on ‘brink of war’ after deadly clashes Azerbaijan’s defence ministry claimed Wednesday its forces have killed 2,300 Karabakh separatist troops since hostilities broke out. The ministry said its forces had “destroyed 130 tanks, 200 artillery units, 25 anti-aircraft units, five ammunition depots, 50 anti-tank units, 55 military vehicles”. Armenia claimed that Azerbaijan on Wednesday had lost 130 troops while another 200 were wounded. The two sides have accused each other of targeting civilian areas, including in areas away from Karabakh. Yerevan is claiming that Turkey, a long-standing ally of Azerbaijan, is providing direct military support for Baku. Armenia accuses Turkey of downing warplane It said on Tuesday that a Turkish F-16 flying in support of Baku’s forces had downed an Armenian SU-25 warplane, but Ankara and Baku denied the claim. Karabakh’s declaration of independence from Azerbaijan sparked a war in the early 1990s that claimed 30,000 lives, but it is still not recognised as independent by any country, including Armenia. Armenia and Karabakh declared martial law and military mobilisation Sunday, while Azerbaijan imposed military rule and a curfew in large cities. “We are definitely very close to seeing a large-scale war, possibly even on a regional scale,” Olesya Vartanyan of the International Crisis Group said.