Russian military command in Nagorno-Karabakh strengthens presence around the village of Farukh

Armenian media, citing sources close to the Russian military contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh, on Tuesday (29 March) reported that Russia had strengthened its military presence near the village of Farukh, the scene of tensions over the last days

Various reports said that the leadership of the Russian military contingent brought in reserves to “block further advancement by the Azerbaijani army” near the village of Farukh. Several reports said that Azerbaijani forces withdrew from the village earlier on Tuesday, and that Russian forces now control the area. However, the de facto authorities in Stepanakert have also said that Azerbaijani forces remain within the Armenian side of the line of contact, including in the key strategic height of Karaglukh. Control over the heights is reported to be of significant strategic benefit, as an observation post for several surrounding districts, including the road leading to Martakert, an important settlement under Armenian control.

The Russian Foreign Ministry had already announced over the weekend that Azerbaijani troops had withdrawn, though this assertion was later contested by both Baku and Yerevan. Armenia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying they expected "the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh to undertake concrete, visible steps to resolve the situation and prevent new casualties and hostilities".

Approximately 2000 Russian troops were initially deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh after the 44-day war as part of a “peacekeeping mission”, although the actual numbers of troops deployed is likely to be higher

The self-styled government of Nagorno-Karabakh also announced on Tuesday that the gas supply to the region had been resumed, after repeated cuts since the start of the month. There were reports in the Armenian media that authorities had agreed to let the Azerbaijanis set up a post in Karaglukh in exchange for restoring the gas supply, though this was denied by the de facto leader of Nagorno-Karabakh. 

source: with OC Media and agencies
photo: Russian and Armenian soldiers at a checkpoint in Nagorno-Karabakh; Commonspace archive