Azerbaijan’s president has raised the nationwide flag over the capital of the previous breakaway area of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan retook the territory final month in a 24-hour lightning navy offensive, prompting the vast majority of its ethnic Armenian population to flee.
President Ilham Aliyev was pictured elevating his nation’s flag over the capital, which was often known as Khankendi by Azerbaijan and as Stepanakert by Armenians.
He additionally delivered a speech, his presidential workplace stated.
A lot of the territory’s inhabitants of 120,000 ethnic Armenians have now fled to Armenia, many fearing persecution – though Azerbaijan had pledged to respect their rights.
Armenia’s Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, claimed the large-scale evacuation amounted to “a direct act of an ethnic cleaning and depriving individuals of their motherland”.
However Azerbaijan has rejected the accusation, arguing the mass migration by the area’s residents was “their private and particular person choice and has nothing to do with compelled relocation”.
The Karabakh area is internationally recognised as Azerbaijani territory.
It grew to become a breakaway state below the management of ethnic Armenian forces in 1994 after six years of separatist combating following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In 2020 Azerbaijan took again components of the area in a 44-day struggle, with the rest reclaimed in September’s offensive.