Russia must end Armenian troop presence in Azerbaijan: Baku

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3-way agreement last year requires Moscow to deal with Armenian presence within Azerbaijani borders, says Defense Ministry

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AA) – Russia must put an end to the illegal presence of Armenian troops within Azerbaijan’s borders, Baku urged Moscow on Wednesday.

In a statement, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said Russian peacekeeping troops temporarily deployed in Azerbaijan should take action against the presence of Armenian forces in the country under a trilateral agreement inked last year.

The ministry accused Armenian forces of moving into Azerbaijani territory and building outposts, actions prohibited under the Nov. 10, 2020 treaty.

These new posts are being set up “near Mukhtarkend and Shushakend, as well as in the territories to the east of the administrative boundaries of the Kalbajar and Lachin regions,” it added.

Noting that Azerbaijani military forces had taken the necessary measures to prevent such behavior, it said that Yerevan seeks to escalate tension between the two countries.

It further argued that a recent order by Armenia’s new Defense Minister Arshak Karapetyan for the Armenian military to “use force by any means” was “irresponsible and provocative.”

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

New clashes erupted in September last year and ended on Nov. 10 with a Russia-brokered cease-fire.

During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from Armenia’s nearly three-decade occupation.

The cease-fire is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia, whose armed forces withdrew in line with the agreement.

A joint Turkish-Russian center was established to monitor the truce. Russian peacekeeping troops have also been deployed in the region.

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