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Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of “ethnic cleansing” in Nagorno-Karabakh

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday accused neighbouring Azerbaijan of “ethnic cleansing” as some 65,000 people fled Nagorno-Karabakh for Armenia, CBS News reported.

Pashinyan predicted the displacement of ethnic Armenians in the “coming days” amid the Azerbaijani military operation.

“Our analysis shows that in the coming days there will be no Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. This is an act of ethnic cleansing of which we were warning the international community for a long time.”

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but for several decades it has been inhabited and ruled by ethnic Armenians. About a week ago, Azerbaijan launched a military offensive to reclaim the region, which used to be home to fewer than 150,000 people before the exodus.

Armenian government spokeswoman Nazeli Baghdasaryan stated AFP data showed that “65,036 IDPs” [internally displaced persons] had crossed into Armenia from Karabakh by Thursday morning.

Some ethnic Armenian residents said they had only minutes to make a decision and leave their homes.

We ran away to survive. It was horrible, children were hungry and crying.

Samantha Powers, the head of the US government’s primary aid agency, visited Armenia this week and announced the US would provide $11.5 million in aid.

“It is absolutely critical that independent monitors, as well as humanitarian organizations, get access to the people in Nagorno-Karabakh who still have dire needs. There are injured civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh who need to be evacuated and it is absolutely essential that evacuation be facilitated by the government of Azerbaijan.”

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has been ongoing for many years, but after the start of Azerbaijan‘s recent military operation, ethnic Armenians were forced to lay down their arms, leaving the future of their region and their people shrouded in uncertainty.


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