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About 250 refugees return to their homes in Stepanakert thanks to Russian peacekeepers

The Russian Defense Ministry clarified that the Russian military personnel ensured the safe movement of buses across the contact line

MOSCOW, November 14. / TASS /. About 250 refugees have been able to return to their homes in Stepanakert following the deployment of Russian peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh, according to the statement by the Russian Defense Ministry released on Saturday.

"On November 14, 2020, about 250 Stepanakert residents returned to their homes. The first nine buses with refugees arrived in Stepanakert after the deployment of the Russian peacekeeping contingent and the set up of their observation posts," the ministry said.

The ministry clarified that the Russian military personnel ensured the safe movement of buses across the contact line.

Earlier, the commander of the peacekeepers, Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov, said that all types of hostilities have been stopped on the territory of contact, the Russian military has not heard a single shot, the situation is stabilizing.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict reported numerous casualties, among them civilians.

On November 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a full ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, starting from November 10. Under the peace deal, the Azerbaijani and Armenian forces will remain at their current positions while Russian peacekeepers will be deployed to the region.

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. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France and the United States.