Armenian fighters in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh were forced to surrender earlier this week after a lightning 24-hour military operation by the much larger Azerbaijani military.
Ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh have begun handing over weapons after they were forced to surrender this week, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Saturday.
The ministry said the fighters had so far handed over six armored vehicles, more than 800 guns and about 5,000 units of munitions to Russian peacekeepers.
This follows acease-fire agreement on September 20 after the Azerbaijani military launched a major military operation against ethnic Armenian forces to take control of the enclave. The fighting has killed at least 200 people, according to local authorities.
Russian authorities said they had delivered more than 50 tons of food and other aid, while the International Committee of the Red Cross said it had supplied fuel and thousands of blankets and diapers.
What you need to know about the conflict
Nagorno-Karabakh has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces, backed by Armenia, since the end of a separatist war in 1994.
Armenian forces also took control of sizable areas outside Nagorno-Karabakh itself, but Azerbaijan regained those territories in a six-week war in 2020.
The enclave became an autonomous region within the Soviet republic of Azerbaijan in 1923, and is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
Russian peacekeeping forces were deployed to the region under a 2020 cease-fire agreement to prevent fresh violence from breaking out.
But this month’s fighting came at a time when tensions between Armenia and its longtime ally Russia remain high. Armenia held military exercises with the US this month, angering Moscow.
Armenia has complained about Russian forces not doing enough to keep the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia open.
Since December, Azerbaijan has largely blocked the road amid allegations that Armenia was using it for illicit weapons shipments and mineral extraction.
rm/nm (Reuters, AP)