HENRIKH MKHITARYAN has written an emotional public plea to world leaders including Vladimir Putin regarding the conflict between his home country Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
The two nations have long disputed the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh.
For four decades Armenia and Azerbaijan have been in conflict over the landlocked region, which is internationally recognised as a part of the latter, despite being controlled by ethnic Armenians.
Around 30,000 people were killed in the 1990s as a result of the disagreement, although a ceasefire was declared in 1994.
But last month clashes again erupted, with Armenia declaring martial law and mobilisation.
And a distraught Mkhitaryan, 31, is calling on world leaders to help end the violence.
The ex-Arsenal star, who hails from Armenian capital Yerevan, wrote on his social media feeds, addressing Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump: "Your Excellencies,
"I am a professional athlete proudly representing my country Armenia internationally, and today I am writing to you with a very heavy heart.
"As the world is witnessing an unprecedented and tragic war in Nagorno-Karabakh, let me voice my profound preoccupation that my homeland is in danger.
"While the war enters its second week of heavy combats, my native Armenia and Artsakh are defending themselves against the aggressors for our primary right to be a Nation, to exist on our historic lands and to preserve our world known Christian heritage and values.
"With the intensification of military fights over the past few days, this is indeed heartbreaking to see how Azerbaijan military is directly targeting schools and kindergartens, residential buildings, hospitals and other civilian infrastructures in the capital Stepanakert, and other densely populated settlements.
"Cluster war-headed missiles are repeatedly use to attack peaceful population, resulting in numerous casualties and even more wounded, many of who would stay with broken lives and broken destinies.
"This could not be called otherwise than a war crime. I am bringing to your high attention that the current situation in Artsakh is at the verge of humanitarian catastrophe.
"Moreover, these tragic events are happening with the direct interference of external regional forces and foreign fighters in the proximity of the Russian Federation and the European Union, which constitutes a direct security threat also for your countries. Armenia and Artsakh are alone in their fight against international terrorism.
"As historical allies of the Republic of Armenia and primarily, in your capacity of Co-chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group, your interference in calling on Azerbaijan to immediately stop this devastating war is of vital importance.
"Our youth is dying on the frontline and becomes unrecoverably injured instead of participating in the future nation building. From the bottom of my heart I am calling on you to use your full power in halting this human tragedy and bring the sides back to peaceful negotiations."
Mkhitaryan, who now plies his trade for AS Roma in Serie A, is a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and captain of the Armenian national football team.
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