Russia deploys peacekeepers to secure Azeri-Armenia truce
Russian peacekeeping troops deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday under a deal that halted six weeks of fighting between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces, and froze territorial gains by Azerbaijan.
The agreement ended military action and restored relative calm to the breakaway territory, internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but populated and, until recently, fully controlled by ethnic Armenians.
The territory that Azerbaijan will keep includes the mountain enclave’s second city of Shusha, which Armenians call Shushi, and ethnic Armenian forces must give up control of a slew of other areas by December 1.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the deal, announced overnight and also signed by Moscow, should pave the way for a lasting political settlement to weeks of fighting that killed thousands, displaced many more and threatened to spark a wider war.
Azerbaijan, which had been trying to regain land lost during a war in the 1990s, hailed the deal as a victory.
Azeris celebrated in the capital, Baku, sounding car and bus horns in delight and cheering and waving the Azeri national flag. “This (ceasefire statement has historic significance. This statement constitutes Armenia’s capitulation. This statement puts an end to the years-long occupation,” Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said.
Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan denied Armenia had suffered a defeat but acknowledged a “disaster” for which he took personal responsibility.