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Russian helicopters accompany peacekeeping convoys in Karabakh

Pilots of the helicopter escadrille have fulfilled the tasks on covering and accompanying the peacekeeping convoys

MOSCOW, November 14. /TASS/. Russian Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters have accompanied peacekeeping convoys marching to Nagorno-Karabakh, the Russian Defense Ministry informed on Saturday.

"Pilots of the helicopter escadrille have fulfilled the tasks on covering and accompanying the peacekeeping convoys marching from the Erebuni airfield to the settlements of Goris and Stepanakert," the ministry informed.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed on Friday that over 1,100 Russian peacekeepers and 168 equipment units had been sent to Nagorno-Karabakh over the past three days.

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.

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 have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported numerous casualties, among them civilians.

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.