Soviet-era Grad multiple missile launch system can fire 40 rockets in around 20 seconds and their deployment suggests Moscow is not taking any chances with the security of its peacekeepers.

Russian peacekeepers check their equipment in front of 12th-13th century Orthodox Dadivank Monastery, outside the town of Kalbajar, Azerbaijan, November 15, 2020.
Russian peacekeepers check their equipment in front of 12th-13th century Orthodox Dadivank Monastery, outside the town of Kalbajar, Azerbaijan, November 15, 2020. (AFP)

Russia has moved truck-mounted multiple rocket launchers into a land corridor it controls between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh as its peacekeeping forces secure new territory for a deal struck over the enclave last week.

The Russian Defence Ministry said on Monday it had set up seven temporary observation posts in the Lachin Corridor, which runs from the edge of Armenia to the enclave inside Azerbaijani territory, to ensure the safe passage of Russian peacekeepers to Armenian-occupied parts of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armed peacekeepers will be accompanied by armoured personnel carriers and other vehicles and hardware, it said.

READ MORE: Turkey, Russia discuss Karabakh ceasefire as fleeing Armenians burn houses

Reuters reporters saw two Russian truck-mounted Grad multiple missile launch systems in the Lachin Corridor. 

The Soviet-era system can fire 40 rockets in around 20 seconds and their deployment suggests Moscow is not taking any chances with the security of its peacekeepers.

Both Grads were manned by Russian crews and the servicemen confirmed to Reuters that they were from Russia.

One of the Grads had a Russian military license plate with regional code 94, indicating it belonged to the Transcaucasian military district. 

The other Grad had no license plate but was accompanied by a Kamaz military truck with a Russian license plate from the same military district.

Reuters reporters also spotted a Russian tank in the area.

Russia de-mining Lachin corridor

The Russian Defence Ministry said its soldiers were de-mining the Lachin corridor, and clearing the road of abandoned and damaged armoured vehicles and cars.

Moscow will monitor the peace with the help of 18 Russian-manned observation posts, it said. 

Russian peacekeepers were in constant contact with the armed forces of Azerbaijan and Armenia to help prevent misunderstandings.

Moscow brokered an end to six weeks of fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the enclave, an accord that prompted the deployment of almost 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to the area, a process that is continuing.

Turkey plans to deploy troops

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked parliament to authorise sending soldiers to Azerbaijan to establish a "peacekeeping centre" with Russia to monitor a truce in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The deployment bill submitted to parliament requests a one-year mandate to send Turkish peacekeepers, adding that the president would determine the number of troops to be sent.

READ MORE: Erdogan seeks parliament's nod to deploy troops for Karabakh peacekeeping

Source: TRTWorld and agencies