BAKU — Azerbaijan says its forces have entered the Lachin district, the last of three handed back by Armenia as part of a deal that ended six weeks of fighting over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“Units of the Azerbaijani Army entered the Lachin region on December 1” under the deal signed on November 9 by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement
Azerbaijan lost control of Lachin during a war with Armenia in the early 1990s as they transitioned into independent countries amid the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Lachin was a strategic link between Armenia’s internationally recognized border and ethnic Armenian-held areas in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia agreed to hand over three districts ringing Nagorno-Karabakh — Agdam, Kalbacar, and Lachin — after nearly three decades under Armenian control as part of the Russian-brokered agreement signed earlier this month, halting military action in and around Nagorno-Karabakh following the worst fighting in the region since the 1990s.
Almost 2,000 Russian peacekeepers have moved into the area as part of the truce deal, which also committed the parties to reopening their borders for trade but sets no time frame for that.
Agdam was ceded on November 20 and Kalbacar five days later.