View of the mountains in southern Karabakh. Image grab from video by Tatul Hakobyan, CivilNet.

Throughout the day and night Stepanakert, Shushi and Hadrut were reported to be under intense shelling, with intensity of shelling increasing over the previous day.

According to the Defense Army command, Azerbaijani units attempted to advance in the south of Karabakh but were forces to retreat. Throughout the day, Armenian officials sounded optimistic about the progress of fighting, with prime minister Niko Pashinyan saying in an interview that Azerbaijani forces were hemmed in along the Iranian border and that Armenian success in that area could pave the way to return to cease-fire.

In remarks aired in the early afternoon, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin for the first time personally addressed the fighting, calling the loss of life a “tragedy.”

“Whether it is Azerbaijan, Armenia or Nagorno Karabakh – people living there are not strangers to us,” Putin told Russia 24 TV. “People are dying, losses are great on both sides, and we are hoping that in the very near future this conflict will end. It might not be conclusively settled, we are obviously far from that. But we are calling for a cease-fire and that must be done as soon as possible.

The Russian leader reportedly spoke both with Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev, both of whom called Putin on his birthday. Later in the day, Russia’s defense minister was reported to have called his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts.

Mediators have announced talks to return to cease-fire to take place in Geneva on October 8, and continue in Moscow on October 12.

At the same time, cargo planes continued to fly into Azerbaijan from Israel and Turkey, likely restocking on ammunition and mercenaries. The Syrian Observatory on Human Rights reported that it knew of at least 72 Turkish Syrian mercenaries who have died in the fighting.

The Armenian defense ministry confirmed 332 personnel killed. While Azerbaijan has not reported any figures, the Armenian Karabakh Records site compiled names of more than 420 military deaths reported in the social media. Combined civilian death toll may have exceeded 50 people.

In his daily evening press conference, Armenian defense ministry’s spokesman Artsrun Hovannisyan said that the fighting in the south of Karabakh continued. Stepanakert was under shelling overnight.