Published: Sat, November 21, 2020

Armenia appoints new defence minister after Karabakh defeat

Armenia appoints new defence minister after Karabakh defeat

Armenia's president appointed a new defense minister on Friday after widespread criticism of the government over a ceasefire that secured advances for Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh following six weeks of fighting.

Armenian separatists also agreed to relinquish control over some parts of the Nagorno-Karabakh territory captured by Azerbaijan in the six-week fighting, including the historic town of Shusha.

Azerbaijan's Defence Ministry said on Friday its troops had entered the district handed back by Armenian occupiers a day after columns of Armenian soldiers and tanks rolled out of the territory. FRANCE 24's Luke Shrago explains.

On Thursday, people celebrated in Baku, with cars parading through the city with flags of Azerbaijan ally Russian Federation and Turkey. That war left not only Nagorno-Karabakh itself but the substantial surrounding territory, in Armenian hands.

The Russian peacekeeping mission is maintaining effective control over the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at loggerheads over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh since 1988.

He maintained that the peacekeepers had "helped end the bloodshed and prevent further casualties".

"On November 20, units of the army of brotherly Azerbaijan entered the Aghdam district".

Most of Azerbaijan's south-western district of Aghdam had been under the control of Armenian separatists, following a post-Soviet 1990s war that left some 30,000 dead.

Armenia's health ministry said earlier this week that more than 2,400 of the country's fighters had been killed in the fighting.

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh and seven adjacent regions.

Before Tonoyan's dismissal was announced, an initial report by Armenian newspaper Aravot had said he had tendered his resignation.

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