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Azerbaijani President raises flag in Nagorno-Karabakh capital

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 16, 2023 11:50 AM 2 min read
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev hoists the Azerbaijani flag in Khankendi, Azerbaijan on Oct. 15, 2023 (Azerbaijani Presidency/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev raised the flag of Azerbaijan in front of the presidential palace in Khankendi (known by Armenians as Stepanakert), the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, on Oct. 15, the president's office reported.

"Today, all the people of Azerbaijan are genuinely rejoicing," he said in a speech in front of the presidential palace formerly used by the Armenian authorities that de-facto ruled Nagorno-Karabakh for more than 30 years.

Aliyev also visited a number of other towns and cities in the recently re-captured territory in Nagorno-Karabakh and raised the Azerbaijani flag.

On Sept. 20, Nagorno-Karabakh authorities capitulated to Azerbaijani forces after a lightning offensive on Sept. 19 left them with “no choice but to cease hostilities."

One week later, the president of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Samvel Shakhramanyan, signed a decree on Sept. 28 dissolving all official institutions of the breakaway state from Jan. 1, 2024.

After Nagorno-Karabakh's surrender, around 100,000 Armenians, the majority of the population, left the region for Armenia.

Azerbaijan fought against ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh and forces from the Republic of Armenia from 1988-1994. The war ended in an Armenian victory and the creation of the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh Republic within the territory of Azerbaijan that is recognized by international law.

In 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a war in which the latter's forces successfully reclaimed a large portion of the territory before a ceasefire was mediated by Moscow, which sent a "peacekeeping" force of several thousand Russian troops to the region.

In the following years, tensions did not subside, with Azerbaijan blockading the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, leading to a humanitarian crisis widely condemned by UN member states and international organizations.

The situation culminated in Azerbaijan’s 24-hour successful offensive on Sept. 19, 2023.

Russia’s ‘peacekeeper’ act crumbles as Azerbaijan overwhelms Nagorno-Karabakh
On Sept. 19, just under three years after the end of the last major war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Baku moved decisively to finish what it started in 2020. Shortly after the announcement of the launching of “anti-terrorist” measures by the Azerba…

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