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Russian Peacekeepers Fully Withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh

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The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense has announced the completion of the withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers from the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, marking the end of a 3.5-year mission following the 2020 war between Azerbaijan and the ethnic-Armenian Republic of Artsakh.

Details

In a statement, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense confirmed that “The peacekeeping contingent’s personnel, weapons, and equipment have completely left our territory.”

This announcement follows the Kremlin’s confirmation on April 17 that Russian peacekeepers had started their withdrawal from the region. The deployment had faced significant criticism from Armenian and Artsakh officials, who accused Russia of failing to protect the interests of ethnic Armenians and enforce the measures agreed upon in the 2020 ceasefire.

Last September, Azerbaijani forces launched an offensive against areas of Nagorno-Karabakh still controlled by the Armenian-backed Republic of Artsakh. This offensive resulted in Azerbaijan re-establishing control over the disputed region and led to a mass exodus of the region’s ethnic Armenian population, which Armenia condemned as ethnic cleansing.

Shifting Dynamics

The withdrawal of peacekeeping forces also coincides with Armenia’s efforts to distance itself from Russia and pursue a more diversified foreign policy for defense. Earlier today, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced Armenia’s intention to withdraw from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), stating that the CSTO “has not fulfilled and is not fulfilling its obligations towards Armenia. We cannot ignore this and do nothing.”

The conclusion of the Russian peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh underscores the shifting geopolitical dynamics in the region. As Armenia seeks new alliances and Azerbaijan consolidates its control over the disputed territory, the future of Nagorno-Karabakh remains uncertain. This development highlights the ongoing challenges in achieving long-term stability and peace in the South Caucasus.

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