Russia says Karabakh Armenians start giving up arms

9 個月前

STORY: Russia has said that Armenian fighters in Nagorno Karabkh have started to give up their arms - following a military operation by Azerbaijan.

That as Russian peacekeepers - of which there are 2,000 in the breakaway region - distributed humanitarian aid.

Russia's defense ministry said six armored vehicles, more than 800 guns, and about 5,000 units of ammunition had been handed over so far.

The Armenians of Karabakh, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, were forced to declare a ceasefire on Wednesday (September 20).

That's after Azerbaijan began what it called an "anti-terrorist" operation.

It was in response to some of its troops being killed in what Azerbaijan said were attacks from the mountainous region.

On Friday (September 22), Azerbaijan's army removed a tank monument in Karabakh that had been a symbol of Armenian control.

The future of Karabakh, and its 120,000 ethnic Armenians, now hangs in the balance.

Azerbaijan says it wants to integrate the long-contested region.

Ethnic Armenians say they fear they will be persecuted - and have accused the world of abandoning them.

Armenians in Karabakh told Reuters that they were essentially besieged - with little food, electricity or fuel.

They have called on big powers to help them.

The U.S. has said it is deeply concerned by the "Azerbaijan military's actions".

Azerbaijan envisages an amnesty for Karabakh Armenian fighters who give up their arms. It has said Armenians can leave the region for Armenia if they want.

Armenia, which lost a 2020 war to Azerbaijan over the region, has set up space for tens of thousands of Armenians from Karabakh.

However, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan says he does not want them to leave their homes unless it is absolutely necessary.