Russia’s Task in Karabakh Is to Restore Peace, Emergency Ministry Says

The main task of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry as part of the ongoing humanitarian operation in Nagorno-Karabakh is to restore a peaceful life there as soon as possible, head of the Russian emergency department Yevgeny Zinichev said during his working visit to Azerbaijan and Armenia, TASS reports citing a statement by the ministry.

“The main task of the ongoing humanitarian operation is the early restoration of peaceful life in the region. It is very important for us to have relevant and reliable information about the real needs of Nagorno-Karabakh to minimize possible negative consequences for the population. For its part, the Emergencies Ministry of Russia is on a regular basis a member of working groups to assess the state of the infrastructure of Nagorno-Karabakh and its needs,” he said as quoted by the ministry’s press service.

Zinichev added that to date, about 300 tonnes of humanitarian cargo has been delivered to Nagorno-Karabakh by road, and almost 1,200 tonnes – by rail. These are building materials, diesel generators, off-road vehicles, stoves and household items. Also, the ministry’s demining unit has been deployed in the region.

The ministry specified that during his working visit to Armenia, the head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Minister of Emergency Situations Andranik Piloyan. In Azerbaijan he met with President Ilham Aliyev and Minister of Emergency Situations Kamaladdin Heydarov.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27 in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.

On November 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting from November 10. According to the document, the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides would maintain the positions that they had held and then several districts were to come under the control of Baku. On November 13, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the establishment of an interdepartmental humanitarian response center for Nagorno-Karabakh. It included representatives of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the FSB, representatives of other interested federal executive bodies. Russian rescuers arrived in the region on November 16.