Armenian refugees in Stepanakert
Photo: Russian Defense Ministry / dpa
One day after the negotiated ceasefire, an Armenian delegation came to the Azerbaijani city of Yevlax for talks. This was reported by the Azerbaijani presidential office and the Armenian media on Thursday. The delegation from Armenia was accompanied by Russian soldiers. Russia is considered the protector of the former Soviet Armenia.
Three years after the last violent conflict in the embattled region, authoritarian Azerbaijan attacked Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday. Baku spoke of "local anti-terror measures" against people of Armenian origin. Although the region is located on Azerbaijani territory, it is mostly inhabited by Armenians. A day later, the two sides negotiated a ceasefire brokered by Russia. Baku now controls the former Armenian-occupied territory.
(Read more about the background here: What you need to know about the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh)
Thousands on the run
The situation remains tense. Tens of thousands of people in Nagorno-Karabakh are still waiting in the region. Many thousands want to get out of the territory now controlled by Azerbaijan. Refugees are holding out in Stepanakert and at the airport, where the Russian so-called peacekeepers are stationed.
According to a human rights activist from the separatist camp, at least 200 people have been killed by the Azerbaijani offensive. Ten of them were civilians, half of them children, it said on Wednesday. In addition, more than 400 people were injured. Initially, the information could not be independently confirmed.
Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev said in a televised address that Azerbaijan had regained full control over Nagorno-Karabakh. He now wants to integrate the population of the region. "They are our citizens," Aliyev said. He has nothing against them, only against their "criminal" separatist leaders. Armenian forces have begun to surrender their weapons and are withdrawing from Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia denies having weapons and soldiers in Nagorno-Karabakh. After the major offensive, the region should now become a "paradise," Aliyev promised.
Armenians are predominantly Christians, Azerbaijanis are mostly Muslims. Ethnic conflicts have occurred between the two groups in the past. It is currently unclear how many Armenians will remain in their homeland under Azerbaijani rule.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan recently criticized Russia for scaling back its involvement in the region as a result of the war in Ukraine. The government in Moscow rejected this. After the forced surrender of the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, Pashinyan now came under pressure. In the capital Yerevan, thousands of people took to the streets on Wednesday to demand the resignation of the prime minister. The protesters accuse him of not doing anything to support the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.