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Decision on peacekeepers’ pullout made by top leadership of Azerbaijan, Russia — official

"The defense ministries of Azerbaijan and Russia are taking the necessary measures to implement the decision," Hikmet Hajiyev added

BAKU, April 17. /TASS/. The decision to withdraw Russian peacekeepers from Azerbaijan was made jointly by the top leadership of the two countries, Hikmet Hajiyev, Azerbaijani presidential aide and head of the presidential administration’s foreign policy department, said.

"The decision on the early withdrawal of Russian peacekeepers, who were temporarily deployed to Azerbaijan based on a trilateral statement signed on November 10 (November 9 according to Moscow time - TASS), 2020, was made by the top leadership of the two countries. The process has already begun. The defense ministries of Azerbaijan and Russia are taking the necessary measures to implement the decision," Hajiyev told the Azerbaijan State News Agency.

According to the statement signed by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia on November 9, 2020, a Russian peacekeeping contingent was to be deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh after fighting ceased in the region. The mission comprised 1,960 troops armed with light weapons, as well as 90 armored personnel carriers and 380 motor and special vehicles. The Russian peacekeeping mission was based on a five-year mandate, which could be automatically extended for another five years, provided none of the parties announced plans to terminate the provision six months before the mandate’s expiration.

On September 19, 2023, tensions flared up again in Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku announced the start of a military operation. Yerevan, in turn, described what was happening as "an act of large-scale aggression" and demanded the withdrawal of Armenian forces. Yerevan, in turn, said there were no Armenian forces in Karabakh, calling what was happening "an act of large-scale aggression." Russia called on the parties to end the bloodshed and return to efforts to resolve the issue diplomatically. On September 20, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced that an agreement on the suspension of the anti-terrorist measures in Karabakh had been reached through the mediation of Russia’s peacekeeping mission.

President of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh Samvel Shahramanyan signed a decree on September 28 to dissolve the unrecognized state from January 1, 2024.