Kyrgyzstan reports 36 deaths while Tajikistan reports 35 deaths from earlier fighting between the former Soviet republics over a border dispute.

Border disputes have dogged the ex-Soviet republics throughout their three-decade independence
Border disputes have dogged the ex-Soviet republics throughout their three-decade independence (Reuters)

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have said the death toll from their border conflict had risen to 71 people, following intensifying clashes.

The former Soviet republics clashed over a border dispute on September 14-16, accusing each other of using tanks, mortars, rocket artillery and assault drones to attack outposts and nearby settlements.

Central Asian border issues largely stem from the Soviet era when Moscow tried to divide the region between groups whose settlements were often located amidst those of other ethnicities.

READ MORE: Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan security chiefs hold talks to end border fighting

Kyrgyzstan on Sunday reported 36 deaths from the earlier fighting and has also said it evacuated about 137,000 people from the conflict area.

Tajikistan also reported its casualties on Sunday, saying that 35 people were killed. It has not reported any mass evacuations from the area.

The two sides agreed a ceasefire on September16 which has largely held up despite several alleged incidents of shelling.

Kyrgyz volunteers gather outside the government building demanding they be sent to the conflict zone at the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyz volunteers gather outside the government building demanding they be sent to the conflict zone at the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. (AP)

On Saturday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the leadership of both sides "to engage in dialogue for a lasting ceasefire."

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday called for no further escalation between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in calls with the Central Asian countries' leaders Sunday following intensifying border clashes.

"Vladimir Putin called on the parties to prevent further escalation and take steps to resolve the situation as soon as possible by exclusively peaceful, political and diplomatic means," the Kremlin said in a statement.

In 2021, unprecedented clashes between the two sides killed at least 50 people and raised fears of a larger conflict.

Kyrgyz volunteers gather outside the government building demanding they be sent to the conflict zone at the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyz volunteers gather outside the government building demanding they be sent to the conflict zone at the Kyrgyz-Tajik border, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. (AP)
Source: TRTWorld and agencies