Russia Sends Peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh Amid Deadly Dispute
The government of Russia has sent at least 2,000 individuals tasked to maintain peace in Nagorno-Karabakh as the long dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia resulted in the displacement and death of thousands of people.
On Tuesday, The Guardian reported that Russian peacekeepers have departed after Russia brokered a deal that triggered protests in Armenia and sparked celebrations in Azerbaijan.
This came after a six-week truce announced on Monday night, where the Armenian-backed local government will give significant territorial concessions to Azerbaijan following the latter’s largest offensive in a generation in a bid to reclaim Nagorno-Karabakh and its surrounding regions from Armenia.
Under the agreement, the Armenian forces will turn over some areas outside the borders of the disputed enclave to the hands of the Azerbaijan government. This includes the eastern district of Agdam which is an area that carries strong symbolic Azerbaijan as its main city, which is similarly called Agdam, was thoroughly pillaged and the only building remaining intact is the city’s mosque.
The Lachin region will also be turned over to Azerbaijan. It holds the main road leading from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.
Meanwhile, the so-called Lachin corridor will also remain open and protected by the Russian peacekeepers while Stepanakert will remain under the control of the Armenian-backed government.
Since the dispute between the two countries in September, thousands of people have been killed while hundreds of thousands of others were left displaced. It was said to be the worst fighting since the early 1990s.
Russia siding with Azerbaijan irked Armenians, sending activists storming the streets to protest against Moscow’s interference and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s announcement of the “painful deal” early on Tuesday.
Armenian opposition parties also called for the government to nullify the agreement.
Armenian President Armen Sarkisyan distanced himself from the agreement, saying he had learned about the talks from the media. He called for political consultations to solve the issue.
“If the fighting had continued, we would have lost the whole of Artsakh within a few days, and we would have had more victims,” Nagorno-Karabakh government leader Arayik Harutyunyan was quoted as saying.
He said he had agreed to the peace terms in consultation with Pashinyan.
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