Russia withdraws its 'peacekeepers' from Nagorno-Karabakh

Russian "peacekeepers" in Nagorno-Karabakh

The Russian army closed its military base in Nagorno-Karabakh and withdrew almost 2,000 of its "peacekeepers", Reuters reported.

Russia had 1,960 Russian soldiers stationed at the military base in Khojaly, Reuters said.

Read also: In a betrayal of longstanding ally Armenia, Russia recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijan’s

The presence of Russian 'peacekeepers' "made it possible to establish peace on Azerbaijani soil," Russian Colonel-General Yevgeny Nikiforov said during the withdrawal ceremony, Reuters reported.

Russia made "all efforts to establish peace in the Karabakh economic region" and end the decades-long conflict, Azerbaijan's General Staff chief, Kerim Valiev, said.

The beginning of the withdrawal of "Russian peacekeeping forces" from Nagorno-Karabakh was announced by Kremlin spokesman Dmytro Peskov on April 17.

Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced the beginning of "counter-terrorism measures" in Nagorno-Karabakh to "restore constitutional order" on Sept. 19, 2023.

The unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh surrendered on Sept. 20.

Read also: Armenia optimistic about progress in peace talks with Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan had "completed all the tasks of the counter-terrorism operation" within a day and "restored sovereignty," Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at the time.

Virtually the entire ethnic Armenian population was forced to leave Nagorno-Karabakh following its seizure by Azerbaijan.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan confirmed Armenia's readiness to accept Azerbaijan's sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh in April 2023.

Foreign ministers of both countries reported that a peace agreement between the two nations was possible by the end of 2023.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with Aliyev and Pashinyan on Nov. 27. He welcomed the intention to reach a "strong and dignified" peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic ceased to exist on Jan. 1, 2024.

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