Media Production Editor
On Nov. 9, Armenia signed a ceasefire, facilitated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, with Azerbaijan. The peace deal ends the conflict over the long-disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, a 1,700 square mile mountainous area that is largely occupied by ethnic Armenians, but is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, control over the area has been under dispute between the two nations.
Beginning in September, Azerbaijan, with the support of Turkish allies, took back a significant amount of land from Armenia in this region and threatened to invade Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. Russia, which had been selling weapons to both sides, brokered the deal between the two nations and will act as a mediator of the territory. The treaty states that Azerbaijan gets to keep any territory gained in the latest conflict, and the remaining land of Nagorno-Karabakh will stay under ethnic Armenian occupation. Alongside the Armenians will be 2,000 Russian and Turkish peacekeepers to be stationed in the region.
Hikmat Hajiyev, the chief of foreign policy for Azerbaijan, blames Armenia for unfreezing the hostilities between the two countries. In an interview with the BBC, Hajiyev commented “[Armenia is] misusing and misinterpreting the current ceasefire regime to reinforce their positions and capture new territories of Azerbaijan.” During the renewed conflict, Putin had said that according to Moscow’s information, an estimated total of 5,000 people died, including civilians. Hajiev also claimed that Armenia had “deliberate and indiscriminate targeting of civilians,” but Armenia denies these accusations and instead blames Azerbaijan for instigating the conflict.
Following the signing of the peace treaty, citizens stormed the streets of Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, as protestors demanded the resignation of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for signing the deal. Thousands of protesters gathered near the capitol building in Freedom Square, where 80 protestors were detained by local police. Accusations of breaking the Armenian constitution have so far been ignored by the Armenian Parliament and Pashinyan has kept his government position. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan celebrates the results of the war, with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev founding “Victory Day,” a new national holiday, on Nov. 8 as a commemoration of the outcome.
(Sources: BBC, Vox, AP News, New York Times, The Guardian)