On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin has told his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev to look after the Christian shrines in parts of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Kremlin said that Azerbaijan would get these parts of Nagorno-Karabakh under this week’s ceasefire agreement.
On Tuesday, Russia broke a ceasefire that secured territorial advances for Azerbaijan around the ethnic Armenian region.
President Putin has told President Aliyev that Christian churches and monasteries are a majority in the areas of the enclave. Nagorno- Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. Even though ethnic Armenians populate it. Azerbaijan has secured this area under the ceasefire deal.
Regarding the safety of the shrines, the Kremlin said, “In this respect, he (Putin) underscored the importance of securing safety and normal church life of these shrines.” President Aliyev has said that was how Azerbaijan would act, as per the Kremlin.
Armenian and Azeri troops are fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh
Alina Nikoghosyan, the Armenian health ministry spokeswoman posted on Facebook regarding the death toll of the battles.
She said that their forensic service had examined the corpses of 2,317 dead servicemen, which includes the unidentified ones. This puts the death toll nearly over 1,000 till the last confirmed toll among Armenian fighters.
Over the past few weeks, Azeri troops have been sparring with the autochthonous Armenian soldiers in Nagorno-Karabakh. On Saturday, Armenia reported that more than two thousand soldiers died during the six weeks of clashing with Azeri soldiers. After almost two months of battling over the disputed region, Russia finally brokered a peace accord that let Azerbaijan take over the Armenian territory.
President Vladimir Putin has also said that the ensuing fight has killed over 4,000 people and injured around 8,000 people. They have confirmed deaths of approximately 143 civilians in the battles.
Azerbaijan’s primary religion is Islam.
The Kremlin also said that a discussion took place between President Putin, President Aliyev, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashiyan. According to the Kremlin, they discussed the “practical aspects” of the ceasefire. It is not clear if the discussion took place with all three of them together if President Putin talked to them separately.
According to the new agreement, Russia will deploy 2,000 peacekeeping troops in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The ethnic Armenians held military control over all of Nagorno-Karabakh and few areas in the Azeri territory surrounding it since the early 1990s. After this new agreement, Armenia has lost much of the disputed areas as well as the surrounding territories.