Shortly before that – and just hours after the ceasefire was announced in Nagorno-Karabakh – thousands of demonstrators in Armenia gathered outside Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s office to protest the handling of the ongoing crisis.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced in a televised speech that Armenia-backed separatists are now leaving Nagorno-Karabakh and that most of their equipment has been destroyed during the Baku offensive.
– The illegal Armenian units began the process of withdrawing from their positions. Aliyev claimed that they accepted our conditions and began handing over their weapons.
Ceasefire and reintegration
Almost at the same time, a statement was issued from the Armenian side that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had a telephone conversation about the crisis with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that a ceasefire agreement had been reached between the two parties – said to have been reached after mediation by Russian forces present in the area to monitor the peace.
According to a statement on social media from the region’s self-proclaimed Armenian leadership, there has been a “complete cessation of hostilities” since then.
Integration talks with Azerbaijan are scheduled to begin on Thursday, according to both parties.
A special UN Security Council meeting is scheduled to be held on the crisis, but there is no need for that, according to Azerbaijani President’s Advisor Hikmet Hajiyev.
He stated that such meetings could have adverse and harmful results.
Azerbaijan began the military operation in the region on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, loud explosions were reported every few minutes in the regional capital, Stepanakert.
Azerbaijan claimed that the artillery shelling would continue until the Nagorno-Karabakh regional government dismantled itself and the “illegitimate military formations” surrendered. According to Azerbaijan, only legitimate military targets were attacked, but severe damage was observed on the streets of Stepanakert.
According to the region’s military, Azerbaijan used combat aircraft, artillery, automated systems and drones in the attacks.
In recent months, tensions have escalated between arch-enemies Armenia and Azerbaijan. This has manifested itself in the form of a military build-up and mutual accusations of violating a Russian-brokered ceasefire after fighting in 2020, when more than 6,500 people were killed.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous region in the South Caucasus located within the borders of Azerbaijan, but in fact it is a breakaway region under the wing of Armenia, and the majority of its population are Armenians. The region was at the heart of the decades-long regional conflict between the two countries, and two wars broke out in the region.
In August and September 2020, thousands of fighters were killed over the course of six weeks. Russia then brokered a ceasefire agreement, which saw Armenia cede parts of territory it had controlled for decades, while Russia deployed peacekeepers guarding the five-kilometre-wide Latgin corridor to ensure free passage between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
In late June, deadly fighting broke out in the long-disputed region. The parties have continued to exchange accusations of violating the ceasefire that is supposed to prevail in the region.
The governments in Baku and Yerevan tried to negotiate a peace agreement with the help of the European Union and the United States, whose diplomatic intervention in the Caucasus angered Russia.
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