Russia starts withdrawing peacekeepers from Karabakh
Russia announced that its peacekeepers finished dismantling the observation posts in Karabakh following Azerbaijan’s recent operation against Armenian separatists last month, according to Azerbaijan in Focus, reporting Daily Sabah.
“The dismantling of the temporary observation posts along the former line of contact between the parties in the Askeran, Mardakert and Shusha districts has been completed,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin said it was only a matter of time before Azerbaijan established constitutional order in the Karabakh region.
“Karabakh officially became part of Azerbaijan, this is the position of the modern Armenian state,” Putin told a discussion club in Sochi, Russia, referring to statements by Armenian leaders this summer.
“After the recognition of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Karabakh, it was only a matter of time – when and in what way Azerbaijan would restore constitutional order there within the framework of the Constitution of the Azerbaijani state,” he added.
Russia has repeatedly proposed to Armenia to find a compromise with Azerbaijan on Karabakh, he said, specifically by returning five districts around Karabakh to Baku and thus preserving the connection between Armenia and Karabakh, but Yerevan said this would create threats for the country.
Russia was ready to guarantee the security of the Lachin corridor, connecting Armenia in Karabakh and the Armenians living in this territory through U.N. mechanisms, but instead, Yerevan decided to fight, he said.
He also said that when Yerevan recognized Karabakh as Baku’s territory, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev proposed negotiating the status of peacekeepers on a bilateral basis, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan confirmed this.
Under the deal that ended the fall 2020 conflict in the region, Russian peacekeepers in the Karabakh region have only one right, namely to monitor compliance with the cease-fire, he said.
Putin added that when Pashinyan recognized Karabakh as Azerbaijan’s territory, no one thought about the Armenians, but if Armenia remains an ally of Russia, Moscow is ready to continue providing assistance to the Armenians of Karabakh.
Azerbaijan’s leadership has said Armenians living in Karabakh will enjoy safety and equality under the law.
In the fall of 2020, with Türkiye lending its support, in 44 days of clashes Azerbaijan liberated from Armenian occupation several cities, villages and settlements in Karabakh, a region internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory. The war ended with a Russia-brokered cease-fire.
Then on September 19, the Azerbaijani army initiated anti-terrorism measures in Karabakh. After the 24-hour measures, illegal Armenian armed forces in Karabakh surrendered.
Having established full sovereignty in the region, Azerbaijan has called on the Armenian population to become part of Azerbaijani society.