On November 21, a high-ranking Russian delegation visited the Armenian capital, Yerevan, to discuss the recent peace deal with Azerbaijan.
The Russian-brokered peace deal, which was announced on November 9, put an end to a fierce battle between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Russian delegation, which included Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu, met in Yerevan with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The two sides discussed the implementation of the peace deal.
During the meeting, PM Pashinyan noted that Armenia ”has always felt the support of Russia” during the war, including the personal “support” of Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as the Russian government.
Defense Minister Shoygu briefed PM Pashinyan during the meeting on the deployment of Russian peacekeepers, who are tasked with monitoring the peace deal in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“A total of 23 [security] posts have been deployed,” Shoygu said. “We’re monitoring the road to Stepanakert [the capital of the disputed region].”
Shoygu added that Russian peacekeepers will be working to facilitate the return of refugees as well as to prevent bloodshed in the region.
“Until today, about 7,000 citizens have returned, and this work continues, and I am confident that everyone who wishes to return to Karabakh will be able to do so,” Shoygu told PM Pashinyan.
After meeting in Yerevan the high-ranking Russian delegation traveled to the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, for a meeting with top Azerbaijani officials, including President Ilham Aliyev.
During the meeting, the Azerbaijani President complained to the Russian delegation of what he called the extensive use of foreign mercenaries by Armenia.
“We have numerous photo and video documents. We have passports of foreign citizens, in particular, citizens of France, the USA, Lebanon, Canada, Georgia and other countries. Some of these people are of Armenian origin, some are not. This, however, does not change the essence of the issue because the participation of foreign mercenaries on the part of Armenia, of course, is unacceptable,” Azerbaijani president told the Russian delegation, according to Trend.az.
Many ethnic Armenians of different nationalists went to Nagorno-Karabakh to fight Azerbaijani forces in the early days of the battle. However, Azerbaijan, with the help of Turkey, recruited at least 2,000 Syrian mercenaries in its ranks.
Turkey, which supported Azerbaijan’s attack on Nagorno-Karabakh, is now making preparations to send its own troops to the region.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced on November 21 that Turkish troops are ready to be deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh as soon as possible. The Turkish minister claimed that all the work needed to deploy troops in the region has been completed.
“Our preparations are completed. As a requirement of this resolution, Turkish soldiers will start their duty in Azerbaijan as soon as possible,” Akar said during his visit to the Turkish engine maker TUSAŞ premises in the capital Ankara, according to DuvaR English.
Russia is planning to deploy 1,960 peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkish troops will likely be technicians, who will be deployed in a joint observation center located in the Azerbaijani-held areas in the region.
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