Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia have signed an agreement to end military conflict over the disputed area of Nagorno-Karabakh, just hours after Azerbaijan claimed it captured the region’s strategic city of Shusha. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called the deal “incredibly painful both for me and both for our people” and said that he had signed an “unspeakably painful agreement” with Russia and Azerbaijan to end the war
The deal comes after six weeks of fighting between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenians.The region is internationally recognised as Azerbaijani, but has been run by ethnic Armenians since 1994. In that year, a truce was signed after fighting but not a peace deal. A number of ceasefire agreements have been brokered since fighting broke out again in September, but all of them have failed. Both sides have reported dozens of civilian casualties since the conflict began in September.
The peace deal takes effect on Tuesday. Under the new deal, Azerbaijan will hold onto areas of Nagorno-Karabakh that it has taken during the conflict. Armenia has also agreed to withdraw from several other adjacent areas over the next few weeks. During a televised online address, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russian peacekeeping forces will be deployed along the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh and within the corridor that connects the region with Armenia. In all, 1,960 Russian peacekeepers are to be deployed in the region under a five-year mandate.