As per the Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement signed in November, Armenia handed over the last of its ceded districts in Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani soldiers were seen raising their country’s flag over an administrative building in the Lachin district in the early morning hours of Tuesday.
On the same day, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry released a video showing a tank with an Azerbaijani flag leading a column of trucks into the district. The Russian peacekeepers deployed in the disputed region accompanied the trucks.
AFP reported that Lachin residents had been given until 6 PM on Monday to leave, except for around 200 who were allowed to stay along the Lachin corridor that connects with Armenia’s border.
Before leaving, the residents cleared out livestock, firewood, furniture, and most of what they could take with them. Some even set their houses on fire before going.
The scene was similar to what had happened in Aghdam and Kalbajar, the two areas that Armenia recently gave up to Azerbaijan in accordance with the terms of the ceasefire. Lachin is the final district to be given up by Armenia.
While the majority of the residents left before the Azerbaijani takeover, some stayed in their homes and stores, telling the press they had “nowhere to go.”
“I am afraid only of God. I have been here for 22 years, I started from nothing, I built everything,” 48-year-old Levon Gevorgyan, who owns a local grocery store, told AFP.
“I hope I will be able to continue, I still have a loan to pay. If I have to leave, I will burn everything,” he said.