By Vugar Khalilov
The U.S. Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI) will donate 30 more mine detection dogs (MDDs) to Azerbaijan, the U.S. embassy in Azerbaijan has reported on its social media accounts.
“To date, MLI is proud to have been able to provide 40 lifesaving MDDs. With their handlers, they have searched and returned over 30 million sq meters of formerly contaminated land. In the next 1.5 years, MLI will provide an additional 30 MDDS to assist ANAMA [Mine Action Agency] in its demining efforts,” the report reads.
Earlier, the UK and France also expressed their willingness to help Azerbaijan to clear its mine-contaminated territories liberated from Armenia's 30-year occupation in late 2020.
The UK has contributed over AZN 1 million (£500,000) to Azerbaijan’s recovery efforts and demining activities in its liberated lands.
UK ambassador to Azerbaijan James Sharp said that the British mine clearance companies and the UK Defence Ministry had also been involved in demining operations in Azerbaijan.
Furthermore, the head of Azerbaijan’s Mine Action Agency, Vugar Suleymanov, and French ambassador Zacharie Gross also discussed France's contribution to demining operations on the liberated territories, local news sources reported earlier.
Ambassador Zacharie Gross said that France was keen to donate € 400,000 (AZN 803,272 or $472,752) to support mine clearance operations in the liberated lands.
Some 160 Azerbaijanis have been killed or injured in the explosion of mines planted by Armenians in Azerbaijan’s formerly occupied regions since the end of the war in autumn 2020 that saw Azerbaijan liberate most of its territories in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
On June 12, Azerbaijan handed over 15 Armenian prisoners in exchange for a map detailing the location of 97,000 mines in formerly-occupied Aghdam.
On July 3, Armenia submitted to Azerbaijan maps of about 92,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines planted during the occupation of Fuzuli and Zangilan regions.
In his interview to CNN Turk channel on August 14, President Ilham Aliyev said that the accuracy of the maps provided by Armenia at the latest stage is only 25 percent.
The scale of destruction in Azerbaijan’s formerly occupied territories suggests deep hatred and animosity against Azerbaijanis, with many experts describing these mass destructions as genocide.
Azerbaijan and Armenia resumed the second war after that latter started firing at Azerbaijani civilians and military positions starting September 27, 2020. The war ended on November 10 with the signing of a trilateral peace deal by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders.
The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centres and historic Shusha city.
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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