Authorities in unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday announced the cessation of hostilities and agreement to the terms of Azerbaijan, which launched a military operation in the region the previous day.
With the mediation of the command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, an agreement was reached on the complete cessation of hostilities from 13:00 on September 20, 2023, the government of the unrecognized republic announced.
Under the agreement, the “Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army” will be completely disarmed, its military equipment will be disposed of, and units of the Armenian armed forces will be completely withdrawn from the zone where the Russian peacekeeping contingent is deployed.
The issues of Nagorno-Karabakh’s integration with Azerbaijan will be resolved during negotiations with representatives of Baku, which will start on Thursday, September 21.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry confirmed the ceasefire, saying that the Armenian Armed Forces and “illegal armed formations” were laying down their weapons. The Azerbaijani military has taken control of more than 90 Armenian combat positions, the ministry said.
The Azerbaijani army began shelling Nagorno-Karabakh territories, including Stepanakert, around noon on Wednesday, calling what was happening a “limited anti-terrorist operation” to restore “constitutional order” in the region.
Armenia sought help from Russian peacekeepers stationed in Karabakh in 2020 – after a brief but bloody war that saw Baku regain control of the mountain enclave lost in fighting between 1988 and 1994.
Russia responded to Yerevan’s appeal by expressing “concern” on behalf of Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Zakharova said that Armenia’s recent actions “create a favorable ground for the West’s hostile policy” toward Russia.
Yerevan launched military exercises with the United States in September, called the defense partnership with Russia a “strategic mistake”, and launched the process of ratifying the Rome Statute, which would require the republic’s authorities to arrest Vladimir Putin if he visits.
About 100 people have been killed and hundreds more wounded as a result of Azerbaijani shelling in Karabakh, Ruben Vardanyan, former state minister of the unrecognized republic, said on Wednesday.