Russia pulls troops out of Nagorno-Karabakh region | WORLD
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Russia pulls troops out of Nagorno-Karabakh region

Russian peacekeepers' vehicles in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020. Associated Press/Photo by Sergei Grits, file

Russia pulls troops out of Nagorno-Karabakh region

Russian forces began pulling out of the Nagorno-Karabakh region on Wednesday after an agreement between Azerbaijani and Russian officials, according to a report from Russian state media. Russia in November 2020 deployed almost 2,000 troops and just under 500 vehicles to the area as part of a peacekeeping mission following intense conflict and ceasefire negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Russian mission had been scheduled to last five years but is leaving early.

What has Armenia had to say about all this? The UN’s International Court of Justice is hearing a case from Armenia alleging that Azerbaijan has been ethnically cleansing ethnic Armenians from the region. Lawyers for Armenia told the court Tuesday that the ethnic cleansing process has been completed, and called on it to hold Azerbaijan accountable. WORLD reached out to the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment on the Russian forces’ withdrawal but did not immediately receive a response.

Wasn’t there a huge military operation there last year? In September 2023, Azerbaijan launched a military operation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The mountainous area was predominantly populated by ethnic Armenians, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. Almost all of Nagorno-Karabakh’s population fled the region into neighboring Armenia following the operation. Russia brokered a peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan that left Azerbaijan in control of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan officially dissolved the ethnic Armenian enclave in the area on January 1, 2024.

After Azerbaijan launched the military operation against Nagorno-Karabakh in 2023, Armenia asked the International Court of Justice to order Azerbaijan to withdraw its forces from the region. It also asked the ICJ to order Azerbaijan to specifically cease its persecution of ethnic Armenians in the area, and restore access to utilities for Nogorno-Karabakh residents.

Dig deeper: Read Jenny Lind Schmitt’s report in WORLD Magazine from earlier this year about the conflict.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

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