Russia has said Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to meet in Moscow for negotiations on ending the fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, after President Vladimir Putin called for talks.

"Baku and Yerevan have confirmed their participation in the consultations in Moscow," a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

"Active preparations are under way," she said, with the talks expected to take place later today and involve the two countries' foreign ministers.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for a halt to military actions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The fighting flared up late last month in a revival of a decades-old conflict over the mountainous enclave.

The defence ministry of the Nagorno-Karabakh region said today it had recorded another 26 deaths among its military, pushing the toll to 376 since fighting with Azeri forces erupted on 27 September

The fighting has surged to its worst level since the 1990s.

Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan in a 1991-94 war that killed 30,000 people, but is not recognised internationally as an independent republic.

Both sides have dismissed mounting calls to end the fighting that has claimed some 400 lives, including dozens of civilians. Azerbaijan has said it is determined to capture the majority-Armenian province.

The Kremlin said late last night that following a series of calls with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, Mr Putin was calling for an end to hostilities in Karabakh "in order to exchange dead bodies and prisoners".

The two countries' foreign ministers were invited to the Russian capital to broker an end to the hostilities in talks mediated by the Russian foreign ministry, the Kremlin said.

Diplomatic efforts to find a lasting solution to the decades-old stalemate have faltered since a precarious ceasefire was agreed in 1994.

Mr Putin's announcement of talks in Moscow came shortly after international mediators from France, Russia and the United States launched their first efforts to resolve the fighting in Geneva.

The countries make up the "Minsk Group" that has sought a solution to the Karabakh conflict since the 1990s but have failed to stop sporadic outbreaks of fighting, including the most deadly clashes in decades this month.

But the negotiations in Geneva went ahead without Armenia, which refused to participate if the fighting was ongoing, and there were no public statements following the closed-door talks.

Since the fighting restarted both sides have accused the other of shelling areas populated by civilians and thousands of people have been displaced by the clashes.