Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia have finally signed an agreement to end six weeks of brutal fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh region in a deal Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan described as “painful” in an emotional Facebook post.
Armenia’s PM said that it was “a very hard decision” to sign a deal to end the conflict in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. In a statement on social media, Nikol Pashinyan said the decision was made after a deep analysis of the military situation and assessment by people with knowledge.
Armenia erupted in protests after Pashinyan admitted defeat by signing the deal with Azerbaijan and Russia to halt the fighting over Upper Karabakh. Protesters gathered in front of a government building in the capital Yerevan and broke windows and chanted slogans against Pashinyan.
Earlier, Azerbaijan’s president described a deal reached early Tuesday to halt fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region as the defeat of Armenia. In a televised address, Ilham Aliyev announced the end of the Karabakh conflict between Baku and Yerevan with the new agreement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the signing of the deal by Azerbaijan and Armenia earlier in the day.
Aliyev said Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed the agreement due to Baku’s “iron fist,” not Yerevan’s own will. He said the liberation of around 300 settlements since Sept. 27 in the region has weakened the Armenian army. Aliyev said Agdam District will be delivered to Baku as of Nov. 20 while Kalbajar will be returned by Nov. 15 and Lachin by Dec. 1.
The Azerbaijani president said Russia will deploy 1,960 soldiers and 90 armored vehicles of its peacekeeping forces on the Nagorno-Karabakh contact line and in the Lachin Corridor.
Russian peacekeeping forces are now en route to Nagorno-Karabakh for deployment there under a deal reached between Azerbaijan and Armenia, local media reported Tuesday.
“In order to control the cease-fire and the cessation of military actions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, a Russian peacekeeping contingent is being deployed consisting of 1,960 servicemen, 90 armored vehicles, 380 units of vehicles and special equipment,” the Russian news agency TASS reported, citing the Defense Ministry.
“The peacekeepers are being sent by Il-76 planes from the airfield in Ulyanovsk,” the agency added. “The contingent will be mainly formed of units of the 15th separate motor rifle brigade of the Central Military District,” the agency reported.
Azerbaijan Marks National Flag Day
Azerbaijan celebrated the 102nd anniversary of its national flag Monday after more than a month of gains in its efforts to liberate lands under nearly three decades of Armenian occupation.
In a statement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered his congratulations on the occasion to Azerbaijan, with which Turkey acts in the international arena as “one nation, two states.”
“Turkey will continue to stand by its Azerbaijani brothers and sisters until the glorious flag of Azerbaijan flies freely across the entire Upper Karabakh,” Erdogan said.
Recalling the famous Azerbaijani poet Bakhtiyar Vahabzadeh’s definition of brotherhood between Azerbaijan and Turkey as “two sons of the same mother,” Erdogan said with the steps they have taken as two brotherly countries, they have shown the entire world that they are brothers not just in words but in deeds in all areas.
“With all our hearts and means, we support Azerbaijan’s struggle to liberate its territories in Upper Karabakh, which has been under Armenian occupation for nearly 30 years despite UN and OSCE resolutions.
“The ancient Turkish city of Shusha was liberated on Sunday from the occupation and our belief and hope in a decisive victory has been further bolstered,” he said.
“It is our desire and wish that Armenia, which has suffered a defeat against Azerbaijan’s heroic army, hand over the lands under its occupation to their true owners without further bloodshed, “ he underlined.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu celebrated the day on Twitter.
“Happy National Flag Day to brotherly Azerbaijan! The glorious Azerbaijani flag is waving again in the lands liberated by its heroic army. Live in happiness with your tricolor flag, dear AZERBAIJAN!” Cavusoglu said.
Azerbaijan’s First Lady and Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva also marked the day in a social media post.
“I congratulate all our fellow countrymen on the occasion of the National Flag Day of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Our hearts will always be filled with pride for our flag and Motherland! May our tricolor wave in the sky of the sovereign, powerful Azerbaijan forever!” she said on Instagram.
Jeyhun Bayramov, the country’s foreign minister, hailed the day on Twitter.
“November 9 marks #NationalFlagDay in #Azerbaijan! On this remarkable occasion which coincidences with the most significant days in our history, we congratulate all Azerbaijanis! May our Flag wave over all liberated territories of Azerbaijan!” Bayramov said.
Azerbaijan marked the day following Sunday’s announcement by President Ilham Aliyev on the liberation of Shusha, which has been under Armenian occupation for over 28 years.
Shusha, which was occupied by Armenian forces on May 8, 1992, is strategically important in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, also known as Upper Karabakh, which is an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan. It is located on the road to Khankendi, the region’s largest city.
Many people across the country marked the day by marching in the streets with Azerbaijani and Turkish flags and chanting the slogan “Karabakh is Azerbaijan.”
The tricolor was adopted on Nov. 9, 1918 as the national flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) which existed for 23 months from 1918 to 1920.
– History of tricolor flag
Present-day Azerbaijan is considered the successor of the ADR, which claimed to be the first secular and democratic Muslim-majority country.
“The flag once raised will never fall!” became the motto of the country’s independence struggle in the 20th century. They were the words of Mammad Amin Rasulzade, a statesman, prominent public figure and a founder of the ADR.
In 1991, when Azerbaijan regained its independence from the Soviet Union, the country’s Supreme Council announced on Feb. 5 that the blue, red and green flag with an eight-pointed star and crescent would be the new republic’s national flag.
On Nov. 17, 2009, President Aliyev signed a decree to declare Nov. 9 the National Flag Day of the country. The day was also declared an official holiday.