Azerbaijan takes over Lachin city in line with Armenia peace deal

Azerbaijani troops entered Lachin to replace Russian peacekeepers in accordance with the peace agreement signed with Armenia.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has announced that his country’s troops have moved to the strategic city of Lachin to replace Russian peacekeepers stationed there as part of a 2020 peace deal with Armenia.

“We, Azerbaijanis, have returned to Lachin. The Azerbaijani army is now stationed in the city of Lachin. The villages of Zabukh and Sus were captured,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday.

Footage released by the Ministry of Defense showed Azerbaijani army vehicles driving through the city and waving the national flag over the main building.

Lachin is located on a narrow strip of land in the mountainous region that is the only transit option between Armenia and Stepnakart, the capital of the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nagorno-Karabakh, located in Azerbaijan, has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of the separatist war in 1994.

As a result of that conflict, not only Nagorno-Karabakh, but large parts of the surrounding lands fell into Armenian hands.

But in a new battle that started on September 27, 2020, the Azerbaijani army defeated the Armenian army and penetrated deep into Nagorno-Karabakh.

Their advances forced Armenia to accept a Russia-brokered peace deal on 10 November 2020, in which a significant part of the separatist region returned to Azerbaijan.

He also committed to cede all territories outside of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.

Russia deployed around 2,000 troops to monitor the peace deal and help with the return of refugees.

Clashes between ethnic Armenian separatists and the Azerbaijani army erupted into violence earlier this month.

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