The “demilitarization” of Nagorno-Karabakh remains an “absolute necessity,” the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said on Wednesday, as Baku carried out ‘Operation Revenge’ in the disputed region amid the latest spiral of tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Baku has “repeatedly stated” that the continued presence of the Armenian troops and “illegal Armenian armed groups” in the “territories of Azerbaijan” remains a “source of danger,” the statement said, adding that Azerbaijan considers the “complete withdrawal” of Armenian forces and disarmament of the local militias an absolute necessity.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan. Yet, the region has a mostly Armenian population and has been de-facto governed by the authorities of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic – also known as the Republic of Artsakh – since the 1990s, when the region first sought to break away from Azerbaijan. The Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh and the local militias have since enjoyed support from Yerevan.