Azerbaijan reclaims key city near Nagorno-Karabakh

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MOSCOW (AP) — Azerbaijan has reclaimed control of a strategic city on the edge of Nagorno-Karabakh, the leader of Azerbaijan said Friday.

President lham Aliyev said Azerbaijani forces have moved into the city of Lachin and two nearby villages. “I congratulate Lachin residents and the entire people of Azerbaijan,” he tweeted.

Lachin sits on a road that has served as the main link between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan has reclaimed control of the city and the “Lachin corridor” after building an alternate route in line with a Russia-mediated truce that ended a 2020 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994.

During a six-week war in 2020 that killed more than 6,600 people, Azerbaijan reclaimed large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas that had been controlled for decades by the Armenia-backed separatists.

The cease-fire in 2020 was mediated by Russia, which deployed about 2,000 troops to the region to serve as peacekeepers.

The Associated Press