Russia has sent troops to the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region to monitor compliance with a new truce. The Russian Ministry of Defense reports that the first soldiers have already taken off in Il-76 transport aircraft.
Russia, which has close links with Armenia, says some 1,960 men and 90 armoured vehicles are deployed in the region. There has been heavy fighting there for weeks. The belligerents have confirmed they have approved a deal to end hostilities.
Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan for the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave flared up in late September. The area is ruled by Armenian separatists but is part of Azerbaijan according to the international community. There were at least 1,300 deaths in recent weeks, and possibly many more.
Azerbaijan achieved several military successes during the conflict. President Ilham Aliyev, for example, announced last weekend that his troops had taken the strategically important place Şuşa. Azerbaijan admitted to accidentally downing a Russian helicopter on Monday and apologized.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the new agreement a “full ceasefire” that should pave the way for a long-term solution. He says Russian troops will be deployed at the front line and will also ensure that a corridor remains open between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.