Russia has confirmed its peacekeeping force of nearly 2,000 military personnel, including military police, have begun patrols on the ground Nagorno-Karabakh after fighting has been halted for days.
Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday that “From today, the Russian military police units are beginning patrols in the North and South responsibility areas,” according to TASS.
After six weeks of intense fighting that has killed thousands, Azerbaijan is celebrating the Russian brokered ceasefire as a “capitulation” by the Armenian side, while Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan admitted in announcing it Tuesday that it was a “painful” settlement.
He further called it a “big failure and disaster.” Russia is expected to maintain in total of just under 2,000 military personnel rotating on a permanent basis, and which are reportedly already overseeing the transferring of bodies of the deceased to either side.
From Friday through Saturday large Russian transport planes were flying into the disputed border region. “The planes have already made 95 flights since the start of the peacekeeping operation, including 22 in the past twenty-four hours,” the Defense Ministry spokesman said.
Meanwhile there are reports that Turkey is after the fact attempting to muscle its way into the peacekeeping arrangement:
While the Russian peacekeeping forces have already begun their patrols in Karabakh, the Turkish Ministry of Defense claims their troops will also be participating in the ceasefire monitoring in this region.
The Russian presidency spokesperson, Dmitri Peskov, has denied the Turkish Ministry of Defense’s claims, pointing out that no agreement has been established to allow the deployment of their troops.
It’s expected that death toll numbers will jump dramatically based on identifying recovered bodies on either side.
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The Russians also on Saturday published a first official map of their peacekeeping forces deployment in Karabakh, which is below: