Russia deployed some 2,000 peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh over the last two weeks after a peace deal ended the war between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces which erupted on September 27.
Russia has sent troops to reinforce its border guards in Armenia and secure a peace settlement with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.
The deployment was made at the request of Armenia to maintain peace in Nagorno-Karabakh, Federal Security Service chief Alexander Bortnikov told Russian President Vladimir Putin at a conference via video link.
The mission involves 188 servicemen and military hardware.
Russian border guards stayed in Armenia after the collapse of the Soviet Union under the terms of a 1992 treaty between the two countries.
Russia deployed nearly 2,000 peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh in the last two weeks after a peace deal that halted six weeks of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces, locking in place territorial gains by Azerbaijan.
Handover of Aghdam
Azerbaijani forces entered Aghdam district in Nagorno-Karabakh following 27 years of occupation, the country’s Defence Ministry announced on Friday.
The ministry said in a statement that the Azerbaijani army entered the district as part of a ceasefire deal with Armenia that was brokered by Russia.
Armenian forces occupied some 77 percent of the district in 1993, forcibly displacing nearly 200,000 Azerbaijanis from their homeland.
Return of refugees
A Russian peacekeeping force of some 2,000 troops has deployed to the administrative centre of the region, Hankendi, and set up checkpoints and observation posts along the strategic Lachin corridor connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.
While Armenians in the provinces to be handed over to Azerbaijan have left, the Russian mission on Thursday said it had bussed some 3,000 residents back to Hankendi and other regions who had fled during the six weeks of heavy shelling.
Russian President Putin said on Friday that providing humanitarian aid to residents of "severely hit" Nagorno-Karabakh was now a priority, and called on the UN and the World Health Organization to send delegations to the region.
He added that the peacekeepers had "helped end the bloodshed and prevent further casualties."
Most of Azerbaijan's southwestern district of Aghdam has been under the control of Armenian separatists since 1993. Before the post-Soviet war it was inhabited by some 130,000 people – mostly ethnic Azerbaijanis who were expelled from their homes.