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Russian peacekeepers defuse nearly 1,000 explosives in Karabakh

They have cleared of mines nearly 10 km of roads

MOSCOW, December 1. /TASS/. Troops of Russia’s peacekeeping contingent have cleared of mines nearly 10 km of roads and defused some 1,000 explosives in the Lachin corridor in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

"Russia’s peacekeepers have defused explosives in the area in the Lachin corridor and ensured safe work of repair crews on restoring a high-voltage power line destroyed during the combat actions," the ministry said.

During the peacekeeping operation in Nagorno-Karabakh engineer units cleared more than 29 hectares of land and some 10 km of roads, inspected over 100 houses and vital social facilities and discovered and defused some 1,000 explosives, according to the statement.

All explosives and munitions, which did not explode, are taken to a specially equipped firing range to be destroyed. Sappers explode munitions on the scene if it is unsafe to evacuate them.

Russia’s peacekeepers are also ensuring safe works on restoring power lines, a gas pipeline, communication lines and transformer sub-stations. Over the past day, three power line pylons, 1,200 meters of a gas pipeline, more than 1,500 meters of communication lines and two transformer sub-stations were restored.

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 15th detached motorized infantry brigade units of the Central Military District form the backbone of the peacekeeping contingent. 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.