A minimum of 20 individuals had been killed and almost 300 others injured by an explosion at a crowded fuel station in Nagorno-Karabakh as hundreds of individuals rushed to flee into Armenia, separatist authorities within the area stated Tuesday.
Greater than 13,500 individuals about 12% of the area’s inhabitants have fled throughout the border since Azerbaijan’s swift navy operation to totally reclaim the breakaway area after three a long time of separatist rule, Armenia’s authorities stated Tuesday morning.
The explosion befell as individuals lined as much as fill their vehicles at a fuel station outdoors the regional capital of Stepanakert late Monday. The separatist authorities’s well being division stated that 13 our bodies have been discovered and 7 individuals have died of accidents from the blast, the reason for which stays unclear.
It added that 290 individuals have been hospitalised and scores of them stay in grave situation.
Armenia’s well being ministry stated a helicopter introduced some blast victims to Armenia on Tuesday morning, and extra flights had been anticipated.
Azerbaijani presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev stated on X, previously Twitter, that hospitals in Azerbaijan had been able to deal with victims, however not if any had been taken to them. Azerbaijan has despatched in burn-treatment drugs and different humanitarian assist, he stated.
Gasoline has been in brief provide in Nagorno-Karabakh for months, and the explosion additional provides to native residents’ nervousness about whether or not they’ll have the ability to drive out. The Armenian border is about 35 km (22 miles) from Stepanakert.
Automobiles bearing giant hundreds on their roofs crowded the streets of Stepanakert, and residents stood or lay alongside sidewalks subsequent to heaps of bags.
The Azerbaijani navy routed Armenian forces in a 24-hour blitz final week, forcing the separatist authorities to agree to put down weapons and begin talks on Nagorno-Karabakh’s reintegration into Azerbaijan.
Whereas Azerbaijan has pledged to respect the rights of ethnic Armenians within the area and restore provides after a 10-month blockade, many native residents feared reprisals and determined to go away. Azerbaijan’s blockade of the one highway connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia induced extreme shortages of meals, drugs and gas within the area.
Moscow stated that Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh had been helping the evacuation. Some 700 individuals remained within the peacekeepers’ camp there by Monday night time.
Nagorno-Karabakh was an autonomous area inside Azerbaijan below the Soviet Union, however separatist sentiment grew within the USSR’s dying years after which flared into conflict.
Nagorno-Karabakh got here below the management of ethnic Armenian forces, backed by the Armenian navy, in separatist preventing that led to 1994. Throughout the conflict in 2020, Azerbaijan took again elements of Nagorno-Karabakh together with surrounding territory that Armenian forces had claimed through the earlier battle.
Beneath the armistice that ended the 2020 preventing, Russia deployed a peacekeeping drive of about 2,000 to the area. However Armenian officers and regional authorities complained that the peacekeepers had been unwilling or unable to finish the blockade.