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Russian combat engineers defuse 6,000 explosive objects in Nagorno-Karabakh - peacekeepers

The deputy head of the Russian peacekeeping contingent’s reconciliation center said that military doctors provided assistance to 558 local residents

MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. Russian combat engineers have defused over 6,000 explosive objects and cleared about 200 hectares of territory in Nagorno-Karabakh, Dmitry Perepelkin, a deputy chief of the Russian peacekeeping contingent’s reconciliation center, told reporters on Thursday.

"Russian combat engineers of the Center for Humanitarian Demining have cleared 195 hectares of territory and 60 kilometers of roads from unexploded mines and shells. <...> More than 6,000 explosive objects have been detected and destroyed," Perepelkin said.

According to him, 405 buildings were also checked for unexploded ordnance. The deputy head of the center also said that military doctors provided assistance to 558 local residents, including 67 children.

"Together with employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross, we continue the exchange of the bodies of those killed between the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides, as well as the search for missing persons. To make this work more effective, the number of search groups has been increased from three to five," Perepelkin stressed. He said that the hotline for collecting data about the missing persons had received over 490 telephone calls.

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.

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. Under the document, the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides stopped at the positions that they had held and Russian peacekeepers were deployed to the region. The Russian peacekeepers have set up observation posts along the engagement line in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachinsky corridor that connects Armenia with the enclave to exercise control of the ceasefire observance. The peacekeeping mission’s command is stationed in Stepanakert in Nagorno-Karabakh. The situation in the area is monitored round-the-clock.