Armenia seeks Russian action over Azerbaijani 'incursion'

AFP , Tuesday 29 Mar 2022

Armenia on Monday called on Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh to take "concrete steps" after Azerbaijani forces seized control of a strategic village in the breakaway region.

Ararat Mirzoyan
File Photo: Armenia s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan taken on March 12, 2022. AP

In a new flare-up of tensions in the region amid Russia's military offensive in Ukraine, Azerbaijani troops on Thursday captured the village of Farukh in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The area is under the responsibility of Russian peacekeepers, who deployed in Karabakh under a Moscow-brokered ceasefire that ended weeks of fighting over the region by Armenia and Azerbaijan in late 2020.

Russia's defence ministry said Sunday that Azerbaijan had pulled back its forces from the village, but Baku said its forces remained in control of the area.

Armenia's foreign ministry in a statement on Monday demanded an "investigation into the Russian peacekeeping contingent's actions during the Azerbaijani incursion," confirming that Azerbaijani troops remained in the area.

"We expect Russia's peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh to take concrete steps to put an end to Azerbaijani units' incursion into the zone of responsibility of peacekeepers," the statement said.

Later on Monday, the country's security council accused Azerbaijan of "preparing the ground for fresh provocations and an offensive on Nagorno-Karabakh."

It called on Baku to "immediately start talks on a comprehensive peace treaty."

"International mechanisms of deterrence must be activated to avoid a fresh military escalation in the region and ethnic cleansing," it said in a statement.

A major flare-up in Karabakh could pose a challenge for Russia with its forces deeply engaged in Ukraine.

Moscow deployed some 2,000 peacekeepers in the region after the 2020 war over the long-contested enclave which claimed more than 6,500 lives.

Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and the ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.


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