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Last bus leaves Nagorno-Karabakh, deadly clashes continue

October 2, 2023

A UN mission said it was struck by the "sudden manner" more than 100,000 people left the separatist region over the past week. Meanwhile, Armenia called for on the European Union to sanction Azerbaijan.

Refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh region arrive in the border village of Kornidzor, Armenia
The UN was told some ethnic Armenians remain in Nagorno-Karabakh Image: Irakli Gedenidze/REUTERS

The last bus carrying ethnic Armenians from the Nagorno-Karabakh region in Azerbaijan left on Monday, Gegham Stepanyan, the region's human rights ombudsman, said.

Azerbaijani forces seized control of Nagorno-Karabakh from separatists, primarily ethnic Armenians, triggering an exodus of more than 100,000 people in less than a week.

According to the Armenian government, 100,514 of the region's estimated 120,000 residents crossed into Armenia by Monday.

Armenia urged EU to sanction Azerbaijan

Armenia wants the European Union to sanction Azerbaijan for its military operation, the country's envoy to Brussels said on Monday.

Tigran Balayan said sanctions could include a price cap on Azerbaijani oil and gas and the suspension of EU talks on closer relations with Baku.

He has also urged the West to deliver "bold" security assistance to Armenia.

Armenian authorities, refugees 'face huge challenge'

Sporadic incidents of violence

Armenia reported that an Azerbaijani attack killed a soldier in a border region, highlighting the ongoing instability.

Moscow said Russian peacekeepers and Azerbaijani forces also came under sniper fire on Monday.

"A joint Russian-Azerbaijani patrol was shot at by an unknown person using a sniper weapon. There were no casualties," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

UN team sees no damage to civilian infrastructure

A United Nations team that arrived in Nagorno-Karabakh on Sunday said it was "struck by the sudden manner in which the local population fled their homes and the suffering that the experience must have caused them."

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, however, added the team did not see any damage to civilian infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, and housing or to cultural and religious sites after the recent fighting.

UN delegation arrives in Nagorno-Karabakh after mass exodus

Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of carrying out a campaign of "ethnic cleansing," a charge denied by Baku.

It had urged ethnic Armenians of the enclave to "reintegrate" into Azerbaijan.

lo/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)