08 November 2021

Azerbaijan marks first anniversary of victory in six-week battle with Armenia

08 November 2021

Tens of thousands marched across Azerbaijan’s capital to mark the one-year anniversary of the country’s victory in the six-week battle over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev declared November 8 as Victory Day to mark the capture of the strategic city of Shusha by Azerbaijani forces.

The city’s capture forced Armenia to accept a Russia-brokered truce two days later.

“We have restored our dignity,” Mr Aliyev said.

“We will live forever as a victorious country and a victorious nation.

“If any force in Armenia looks askance at us or engages in revanchist tendencies, it will see our fist.”

As part of Monday’s celebrations, demonstrators and military cadets carried a huge 440-metre (1,444-foot) national flag across the capital of Baku.

Soldiers carry a 440-metre-long (1,444-foot) Azerbaijan national flag (AP) (AP)

Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994.

Hostilities that erupted in September 2020 marked the biggest escalation of the conflict in more than a quarter century.

In 44 days of fierce fighting that killed thousands, the Azerbaijani military routed Armenian forces and moved deep into Nagorno-Karabakh.

The agreement that ended the conflict saw the return to Azerbaijan of a significant part of Nagorno-Karabakh and also required Armenia to hand over all of the regions it held outside the separatist region.

Russia deployed nearly 2,000 peacekeepers for at least five years to monitor the peace deal.

The peace deal was celebrated as a triumph in Azerbaijan, but sparked months of massive street protests in Armenia against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

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