By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijan has received from Turkey new modern engineering machinery and equipment for mine-clearance operations on liberated territories, the Defence Ministry reported on February 4.
The ministry said that the technologies were sent to Azerbaijan as part of the ongoing activities to improve the logistic support of the Azerbaijani army's engineering troops, to accelerate mine-clearance operations on liberated territories and strengthen security measures on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's instructions.
The machinery and equipment will be transferred into the armament of the Azerbaijan Army’s engineer and sapper units stationed on liberated territories to get involved in demining human settlements, including lands suitable for sowing, the Defence Ministry added.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Defence Ministry confirmed that 20 pieces of mechanical demining machines had been sent to Azerbaijan.
"We are sending to fraternal Azerbaijan 20 MEMATT mechanical demining machines, produced by ASFAT LLC subordinate to the Turkish Ministry of National Defence. The first batch is being delivered to Baku from Kayseri city by our Air Force aircraft," the Turkish ministry said.
Earlier, Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry reported that 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 on Azerbaijani territories recently liberated from Armenian occupation as one of the priority tasks before the country. 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.
Aliyev said that after the 44-day war with Armenia, additional sapper battalions were set up by the Defence Ministry on his orders and so far, 80 to 90 per cent of demining operations have been carried out by the ministry sappers.
On February 4, one soldier was killed and two were wounded in an explosion in Aghdam region. In late January, two Azerbaijanis were wounded in Tartar and Aghdam regions. One civilian was killed and two were wounded in Fuzuli region on February 2.
On December 22, 2020, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said that 6 civilians and 6 military servicemen were killed and 7 civilians and 14 military servicemen were injured in landmine blasts after the war ended 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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