Units of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have entered the Lachin district in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry’s press service informed.
"In accordance with the trilateral statement signed by presidents of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and the prime minister of the Republic of Armenia, units of the Azerbaijani army entered the Lachin district on December 1 (in the early hours of December 1 Azerbaijani time - TASS)," the message informed.
Earlier, Armenia’s army left the Agdam and Kalbajar districts. In accordance with the joint statement, Azerbaijan was expected to assume control of the Kalbajar district by November 15, the Agdam district by November 20 and the Lachin district by December 1. Later the date of the Kalbajar district’s handover was reviewed over poor capacity of the only road from the district to Armenia. The Kalbajar district was handed over to Baku on November 25, TASS reports.
Under Russian peacekeepers’ control
In their trilateral statement, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia said that the 5-km Lachin corridor, which will connect Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and won’t include Shusha, is due to remain under control of Russia’s peacekeeping contingent.
The Russian peacekeeping contingent’s command noted earlier that the handover of the Agdam and Kalbajar districts had been carried out as planned without any incidents or provocations.
Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them.
On November 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting from November 10. The Russian leader said the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides would maintain the positions that they had held and Russian peacekeepers would be deployed to the region. Besides, Baku and Yerevan must exchange prisoners and the bodies of those killed. The Russian peacekeepers have set up observation posts along the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor that connects Armenia with the enclave to exercise control of the ceasefire observance. The peacekeeping mission’s command is stationed in Stepanakert, the de facto capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. The situation in the area is monitored round-the-clock.