The Azerbaijani forces announced on Tuesday that they had entered the Lachin region, the third and last that was handed over to Armenia near Nagorno Karabakh, under the agreement to end hostilities signed on November 9 under the auspices of Russia.
The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said in a statement that “units of the Azerbaijani army entered the Lachin region on December 1”.
The Lachin region was the last of three regions that Armenia has pledged to hand over to Azerbaijan, in implementation of the ceasefire decision.
The Lachin region, as well as the Agdam region, which was surrendered on November 20, and Kalbjar, who was surrendered on the 25th of it, forms a buffer zone surrounding Karabakh, the republic declared unilaterally by the Armenian majority since the end of the first war in 1994.
Baku regained control of four other provinces that play the same role, during the six weeks of fierce battles that took place between the two camps since the end of September, which resulted in thousands of deaths.
The hilly and now snow-covered Lachin region extends from north to south to Iran along the eastern border with Armenia, and is known especially as the corridor of the same name.
This corridor is controlled by Russian peacekeepers, and it is currently the only road connecting Nagorno Karabakh with Armenia.
Soon after the Baku announcement, a convoy of Azerbaijani military trucks escorted by Russian forces vehicles crossed the city of Lachin (Birdzor in Armenian), according to an AFP journalist.
Residents did not wait long to leave the region, having destroyed homes and infrastructure on the lands they were leaving.
At the end of the first war in 1994, there was a reverse displacement, as the Azerbaijani population fled from these areas that were later inhabited by Armenians.
The ceasefire agreement signed on the ninth of November at a time when the military situation was disastrous for Armenia, confirms the victory of Azerbaijan and gives it great field gains.
It allows the preservation of the Nagorno Karabakh region, despite the reduction of its area, and provides for the deployment of two thousand Russian peacekeepers.
The agreement, signed under Russian auspices, reminded of the resolute role that Moscow plays in the Caucasus in addition to the growing influence of Turkey, the main supporter of Baku.
On the other hand, it seems that the Western countries are losing their influence, as neither France nor the United States, which are mediators of being members of the Minsk Group, which has been tasked since the 1990s with finding a sustainable solution to the crisis, did not obtain convincing results in the issue.