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January 19
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Many of the residents of Berdzor (Lachin), Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) are currently in the town, Mayor Narek Aleksanyan told Armenpress. 

According to the mayor, the Russian peacekeepers told them Monday that they have to lower the flag of Artsakh, and that the flag of neither side should be raised there.

“Nevertheless, the Russian peacekeepers didn’t specify whether or not the Azerbaijani armed forces would enter Berdzor. The women and children may have left Berdzor due to safety concerns, but many have stayed. Regarding the rumors being spread since yesterday that only 200 residents should remain in the town as service staff for the peacekeepers, I don’t have any information on this. Anyhow, right now the number of residents who stayed in Berdzor is a lot more than 200. I myself am in Berdzor, too” the mayor said.

The Russian peacekeepers are now stationed in Berdzor, while the local residents are waiting for further developments.

On November 9, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a joint statement on a complete cessation of hostilities— which Azerbaijan had launched on September 27—in and around Artsakh. Accordingly, Russian peacekeepers are deployed in the region to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire and the cessation of hostilities. But this statement also stipulates the handover of part of Artsakh lands to Azerbaijan. 

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