By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijan has received from Turkey another batch of new engineering machinery and equipment for mine-clearance operations in Karabakh liberated from Armenia's occupation in a 44-day war in 2020, the Azerbaijani Defence Ministry reported on May 5.
Under Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's instructions, activities are underway to improve the Azerbaijani army's logistic support, accelerate mine-clearance operations on territories liberated from Armenia's occupation and strengthen safety precautions, the report added.
As part of the implemented activities, the next batch of the latest engineering machinery and equipment purchased from Turkey was delivered to Azerbaijan. The machinery and equipment were transferred into the armament of the Azerbaijani army's engineering and sapper units stationed on the liberated territories.
They will be used to clear roads, human settlements, lands suitable for sowing, and other areas of mines and unexploded ordnance.
On May 5, the Turkish Defence Ministry reported on its official Twitter account that seven pieces of mine-clearance equipment have so far been delivered from Turkey to Azerbaijan.
In early February, Azerbaijan received from Turkey 20 MEMATT mechanical demining machines for mine-clearance operations on liberated territories.
Some 136 Turkish mine-clearance experts arrived in mid-December 2020 and begun training their Azerbaijani counterparts. The first group of Turkish sappers arrived in early December. The Turkish soldiers themselves are also involved in clearing Azerbaijan’s newly liberated territories.
On February 4, President Ilham Aliyev described the mine-clearance operations as one of the priority tasks. He stressed that the most state-of-the-art equipment of the world's leading manufacturers must be brought to Azerbaijan to ensure the demining in such a way that the country manages to start the restoration work in a short time and citizens can return to their lands after the completion of construction work. He said that Armenia’s refusal to provide maps of mines amounts to a war crime.
Some 21 Azerbaijani citizens, including 14 civilians were killed and 87 citizens, 16 civilians were injured in mine explosions in liberated lands since the signing of the Karabakh peace deal on November 10, 2020.
A Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal that Baku and Yerevan signed on November 10 brought an end to six weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.
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