Russia and Azerbaijan trade barbs over Nagorno-Karabakh

FILE PHOTO: A Russian peacekeepers soldier stands next to a tank in Nagorno-Karabakh
FILE PHOTO: A service member of the Russian peacekeepers stands next to a tank near the border with Armenia after March 10 , 2020. REUTERS/Francesco Brembati/File Photo

March 27, 2022

(Reuters) – Russia and Azerbaijan traded barbs on Sunday over the movement of Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, where a simmering dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan degenerated into a six-week war in 2020.

Azerbaijani forces drove out ethnic Armenian forces in 2020 from areas they had controlled in and around Nagorno-Karabakh since the 1990s, before Russia negotiated a ceasefire.

Russia on Saturday said it was deeply concerned by rising tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh and called for calm after alleged violations of the 2020 ceasefire brokered by President Vladimir Putin.

Russia said Azerbaijan violated the deal by allowing its forces to enter a zone near the village of Farrukh guarded by Russian peacekeepers, but Azerbaijan withdrew the soldiers by Sunday.

However, Azerbaijan denied the Russian statement.

“Nothing has changed in the positions of the Azerbaijani army in the village of Farrukh, which is part of the sovereign territories of our country,” the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said.

“The information about the withdrawal of Azerbaijani army units from these positions does not reflect the truth. Our army has the operational situation fully under control,” Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.

(Reuters report; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge, William Maclean) Russia and Azerbaijan trade barbs over Nagorno-Karabakh

Bobby Allyn

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