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17 Apr, 2024 10:12

Russia pulling peacekeepers from Azerbaijan – Kremlin

The withdrawal of troops from Karabakh region had earlier been reported by Azerbaijani media
Russia pulling peacekeepers from Azerbaijan – Kremlin

Russia is withdrawing its peacekeepers from Karabakh, a region previously outside Baku's control, the Kremlin confirmed on Wednesday.

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said reports of the move that had appeared in Azerbaijani media were correct.

What was formerly the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh defied Baku’s authority amid the collapse of the USSR, when its predominantly ethnic Armenian population sought independence. The region remained a constant source of conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which tacitly supported the ambitions of its de facto government.

There was a series of bloody armed conflicts over Nagorno-Karabakh in the following decade. The last of these occurred last year and resulted in Baku reasserting its sovereignty over the area. A mass exodus of people followed what Azerbaijan described as a counter-terrorism operation.

Russian peacekeepers have been stationed in the region since the previous major clash, which happened in late 2020. They had a mandate to monitor the situation and report violations of the ceasefire. Several Russian troops were killed in 2023, when the mission was working to protect civilians amid renewed hostilities.