Russia agrees to Turkish peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh
Russia and Turkey have signed an agreement to establish a joint truce monitoring center in Nagorno-Karabakh. The document was signed by Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu on Tuesday, Interfax reported, citing the press service of the Turkish military.
During the talks, the Russian and Turkish representatives agreed on all technical details for this joint center, and work is underway to open it as soon as possible.
The agreement that resulted in Yerevan losing control of the territories occupied in the bloody battles of the early 1990s was concluded two weeks after the Turkish parliament approved President Erdogan’s decree to send armed forces to the conflict zone.
According to the document approved on November 17, the Turkish military will stay in Azerbaijan for one year.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that the Turkish military would be deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh immediately after the conclusion of the truce and play the same role as Russian peacekeepers. On November 11, Erdogan himself promised to deploy Turkish troops to the region.
The Kremlin hastened to refute Erdogan’s words. "There is not a single word about it in the text of the statement that was published. The three sides did not agree on this," said Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
"The deployment of Turkish soldiers in Karabakh has not been agreed," Peskov said, referring to the document on ending the war signed by Aliyev, Putin and Pashinyan.
According to the truce agreement, the Azerbaijani army remains at its positions, and Armenia returns to Azerbaijan three districts occupied during the 1992-94 war, leaving only the 5 km wide Lachin corridor, which will provide communication between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
Russian peacekeeping contingent of 1960 troops with small arms, 90 armored personnel carriers, 380 units of vehicles and special equipment will be deployed along the contact line.
Pashinyan's de facto surrender sparked mass protests in Armenia. On Wednesday, thousands of demonstrators chanting "Nicol the traitor" took to the streets of Yerevan, demanding the resignation of the prime minister.
Pashinyan himself recognized the agreement as a disaster, but stressed that he had no other choice, as otherwise Armenia was facing a military defeat.
"Stepanakert was under a direct threat, and according to the General Staff and the President of Nagorno-Karabakh, the city was not well protected. If it had been captured, thousands of our soldiers would have remained under siege, and as a result we would have lost the territories that were preserved thanks to the agreement," Pashinyan said.