Villagers burn Karabakh houses ahead of Azerbaijan takeover

Villagers burn Karabakh houses ahead of Azerbaijan takeover
General view of destroyed Azerbaijani houses after Amenia captured the district in 1994, in the town of Kalbajar on November 12, 2020. (File/AFP)
Short Url
Updated 14 November 2020

Villagers burn Karabakh houses ahead of Azerbaijan takeover

Villagers burn Karabakh houses ahead of Azerbaijan takeover
  • Fighting between the separatists backed by Armenian troops and the Azerbaijan army erupted in late September
  • Residents of the Kalbajar district in Azerbaijan began a mass exodus this week after it was announced Azerbaijan would regain control on Sunday

Charektar, Azerbaïdjan: Villagers in Nagorno-Karabakh set their houses on fire Saturday before fleeing to Armenia ahead of a weekend deadline that will see parts of the territory handed over to Azerbaijan as part of a peace agreement.
Residents of the Kalbajar district in Azerbaijan that was controlled by Armenian separatists for decades began a mass exodus this week after it was announced Azerbaijan would regain control on Sunday.
Fighting between the separatists backed by Armenian troops and the Azerbaijan army erupted in late September and raged for six weeks, leaving more than 1,400 dead and forcing thousands to flee their homes.
In the village of Charektar, on the border with the neighboring district of Martakert which is to remain under Armenian control, at least six houses were on fire Saturday morning with thick plumes of gray smoke rising over the valley, an AFP journalist saw.
“This is my house, I can’t leave it to the Turks,” as Azerbaijanis are often called by Armenians, said one resident as he threw burning wooden planks and rags soaked in gasoline into a completely empty house.
“Everybody is going to burn down their house today... We were given until midnight to leave,” he said.
On Friday at least 10 houses were burned in and around Charektar.
The ex-Soviet rivals agreed to end hostilities earlier this week after previous efforts by Russia, France and the United States to get a cease-fire fell through.
A key part of the peace deal includes Armenia’s return of Kalbajar, as well as the Aghdam district by November 20 and the Lachin district by December 1, which have been held by Armenians since a devastating war in the 1990s.
Russian peacekeepers began deploying to Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday as part of the terms of the accord and took control of a key transport artery connecting Armenia to the disputed province.
Russian military officials said the mission consisting of nearly 2,000 troops would put in place 16 observation posts in mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor.


Kremlin says would welcome Biden’s efforts to extend New START arms control treaty

Kremlin says would welcome Biden’s efforts to extend New START arms control treaty
Updated 20 January 2021

Kremlin says would welcome Biden’s efforts to extend New START arms control treaty

Kremlin says would welcome Biden’s efforts to extend New START arms control treaty
  • The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) accord limits the numbers of strategic nuclear warheads
  • A failure to extend New START could fuel a potential arms race and tensions between Moscow and Washington

MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Wednesday it remained committed to extending the New START nuclear arms control treaty with the United States and would welcome efforts promised by the administration of US President-elect Joe Biden to reach agreement.
The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) accord, which was signed in 2010 and expires in February, limits the numbers of strategic nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers that Russia and the United States can deploy.
“Russia and its president are in favor of preserving this agreement,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. “If our American colleagues will in fact demonstrate a political will to preserve this pact by extending it, this can only be welcomed.”
Biden’s choice for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Tuesday that the incoming US administration would seek to extend the pact and decide how long an extension to pursue.
Russian President Vladimir Putin last year called on Washington to extend the last major nuclear arms pact between the two countries for a year without any conditions.
A failure to extend New START could fuel a potential arms race and tensions between Moscow and Washington.