Baku [Azerbaijan], April 18 (ANI): Moscow's years-long military involvement in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan has come to an end with the withdrawal of Russian peacekeeping forces from there, Al Jazeera reported, citing officials.

"This is indeed the case," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Interfax news agency on Wednesday in response to media inquiries.

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A pact reached by Moscow in November 2020 saw the deployment of over 2,000 Russian peacekeeping troops to the breakaway South Caucasus territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, ending six weeks of combat between Azerbaijani and ethnic Armenian forces.

Despite the deployment, 120,000 ethnic Armenians residing in Nagorno-Karabakh were forced to leave the region, and the leaders of the breakaway region were apprehended when Azerbaijan forcibly retook the region in September of last year, according to Al Jazeera.

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At the time, Moscow was accused by Armenia's political leadership of not standing up for Armenian interests, a claim that Russia denied. Originally, it was planned for the peacekeepers to remain there until November 2025.

The pullout occurs as a result of pressure from other countries in the region, including protesters in Georgia facing a government they claim is biased towards Russia and neighbouring Armenia asking that Russian border guards evacuate its main airport.

The mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is primarily inhabited by Christians in Armenia but occupies 4,500 square kilometres (1,750 square miles) of land within predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan, has long been the source of conflict between the two Armenia and Azerbaijan. (ANI)

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