Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces reach Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire deal

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By Webdesk

Armenian forces surrender all their ammunition to the Azeri army as the warring sides confirm a ceasefire mediated by Russian peacekeepers.

Ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh say they have agreed to a Russian proposal for a ceasefire, a day after Azerbaijan began an offensive to take control of the contested enclave and demanded a full surrender.

The agreement for a ceasefire starting at 1pm local time [09:00 GMT] on Wednesday was also confirmed by Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense. The office of President Ilham Aliyev separately confirmed talks with Armenian separatists on the “reintegration” with Azerbaijan on Thursday in the town of Yevlkah.

Russia’s Ministry of Defence also said a ceasefire agreement had been reached, adding that it would be implemented in coordination with Russian peacekeepers stationed in the region.

According to Russia’s Interfax news agency, it was also agreed that the remaining units of the Armenian army would be withdrawn from Nagorno-Karabakh and that Karabakh fighters would surrender their weapons. Whether this will actually be implemented was initially unclear. Armenia says it has not had troops in the region since August 2021.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but its population of 120,000 is overwhelmingly ethnic Armenian. The territory has its own government, which has enjoyed close links to neighbouring Armenia but has not been officially recognised by it or other United Nations member states.

Azerbaijan began its military operation on Tuesday after some of its troops were killed in what it said were attacks from the mountainous region, which it had blockaded for nine months.

It said it was targeting only military sites but significant damage was visible on the streets of the regional capital, with shop windows blown out and vehicles punctured, apparently by shrapnel. Dozens of people were also reported killed.

On Wednesday, the ethnic Armenian forces said Azeri troops had broken through their lines and seized a number of heights and strategic road junctions.

“In the current situation, the measures taken by the international community to end the war and resolve the situation are insufficient,” Armenpress news agency quoted an authority statement as saying. “Taking this into account, the authorities of the Republic of Artsakh accept the proposal of the command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent regarding a ceasefire.”

The region in the South Caucasus has been claimed by both Azerbaijan and Armenia for decades, with two wars fought since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

The second war in 2020 ended with Azerbaijan recapturing areas in and around Nagorno-Karabakh after a 44-day offensive.

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