A separatist fighter in the Nagorno-Karabakh region – Reuters
The Russian Ministry of Defense said on Friday that the Armenian separatist forces of Nagorno-Karabakh have begun handing over their weapons and military equipment under the supervision of Russian peacekeepers.
The ministry stated that Russian peacekeeping forces continue their missions in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and that they are in constant contact with Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenians in the region.
It indicated that it had observed two cases of violations of the ceasefire since it was announced, and added that no casualties had occurred.
The separatists had pledged to give up weapons as part of a ceasefire agreement aimed at ending the fighting in the region.
Azerbaijani forces also arrived on the outskirts of Stepanakert, the capital of the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is inhabited by an Armenian majority, according to what a representative of the local authorities reported to Agence France-Presse, explaining that residents are “hiding in basements.”
Separatist spokeswoman Armen Hayrapetyan said, “The situation in Stepanakert is horrific. Azerbaijani forces… are on its outskirts, and people fear that Azerbaijani soldiers will enter the city at any time and commit massacres.”
Inside Armenia, anti-government protesters demonstrated in the streets of the capital, Yerevan, today, Friday, for the third day in a row, in protest against how the government dealt with the crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Azerbaijani army launched an attack on Tuesday on the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is inhabited by a majority of Armenians and was the scene of a violent war in 2020 that allowed Baku to regain large parts of the territory there.
After only 24 hours of fighting, the Armenian separatists surrendered on Wednesday to Baku’s firepower and in the absence of Yerevan’s help, and negotiations began Thursday, mediated by Moscow, to reintegrate the separatist lands into Azerbaijan, at a time when more than 100,000 people were stranded.