Collapsing CSTO: Russia completely withdraws its troops from Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijan on Wednesday announced that the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Karabakh has completed its withdrawal from the region.

Russia shut down a military base in Azerbaijan on Wednesday where nearly 2,000 of its troops had been deployed, after Azeri forces recaptured the area last year despite a two-year Russian mission to prevent war between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement that the contingent’s personnel, weapons, and equipment have all left the country.

In April, Russia announced that it had begun the process of completely withdrawing all Russian peacekeepers from Karabakh.

The Russian peacekeeping contingent was deployed in the aftermath of a fall 2020 conflict in which Azerbaijan reclaimed much of its territory in Karabakh after nearly three decades under Armenian occupation.

Relations between Baku and Yerevan have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven surrounding regions.

Most of the territory was liberated by Azerbaijan during a 44-day war in the fall of 2020, which ended after a Russian-brokered peace agreement that opened the door to normalization and talks on delimitation and demarcation.​​​​​​​

Last September, Azerbaijan established full sovereignty in Karabakh following an “anti-terrorist operation” after which separatist forces in the region surrendered.

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