The Artsakh Defense Army on Friday withdrew from its positions as part of a deal reached on Thursday when representatives from Stepanakert and Baku met in Yevlakh.
The disarming of the armed forces was also part of a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement, backed by the Artsakh authorities, which ended Azerbaijan’s latest large-scale attack on Artsakh that left 200 people dead and hundreds injured, homeless and displaced.
“In fulfilling of the agreements on the cessation of hostilities reached through the mediation of the command of the Russian peacekeeping troops, the delivery of weapons and ammunition to the units of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army has begun, under the supervision of Russian servicemen,” the Russian peacekeeping mission announced in a post off the Telegram social media site.
“The armed formations of Karabakh are withdrawing from their positions as part of the agreements reached during the meeting in Yevlakh. As of today, more than 800 firearms, grenades, mortars, guided anti-tank missiles and MANPADS have been surrendered,” the Russia peacekeeping mission added.
Based on the agreement, Russian peacekeeping forces will replace the Artsakh Defense Army at those positions.
Artsakh authorities said on Friday that there were no concrete results yet from talks with Azerbaijan on possible security guarantees or an amnesty that Baku is supposedly proposing.
“These questions must still be resolved,” David Babayan, the advisor of ArtsakhPresident Samvel Shahramanyan told Reuters. “There are no concrete results yet.”
“The situation is difficult – humanitarian questions need to be resolved. Agreement has been reached for a humanitarian convoy to come from Armenia via the Lachin corridor,” Babayan said.
Asked whether or not the Armenians of Artsakh were on the move, Babayan said there was no large-scale movement of people as the region was effectively under siege.
“The Lachin corridor does not work as it should,” he said. “At the present time, other questions need to be resolved.”
“The situation is very difficult: the people are hungry, there is no electricity, no fuel – we have many refugees.”
Reuters also reported that Baku may be considering amnesty for Artsakh soldiers who lay down their arms.
Azerbaijani presidential foreign policy adviser Hikmet Hajiyev told Reuters that Baku is envisioning an amnesty for those Nagorno-Karabakh fighters who gave up their weapons.
“Even with regard to former militaries and combatants, if they can be classified in such a way, and even for them we are envisioning an amnesty or alluding to an amnesty as well,” Hajiyev said.
Karabakh Armenian rights would be respected as part of their integration into Azerbaijan, he said, adding that they had requested humanitarian support as well as oil and gasoline supplies. Three cargos of humanitarian help would be delivered to the region on Friday, he said.
“Currently we are seeing that some individual army groups and officers that made the public statements that they won’t come to our terms and will continue resistance,” Hajiyev said. “But we do not see that to be the biggest challenge, and big security challenge. Of course this will cause certain challenges and difficulties but not on a such a big scale.”