Azerbaijan expedites process of returning citizens stuck on the Dagestan border
Earlier, on June 16 and 23, another 252 and 155 people were sent home from Dagestan. Judging by this data and the timeline, the Azerbaijani authorities have accelerated the process of evacuating their citizens from Russia. This was preceded by numerous demands, a hunger strike and, finally, a protest rally, which resulted in a clash with the Russian security forces.
In addition, psychologists and doctors began offering their services at a canteen, first-aid post and at the office of the Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan near the tent camps on the border, reports Caucasian Knot.
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Since the end of March, several hundred people have been waiting in the Dagestan village of Kullar near the Russian-Azerbaijani border, unable to return to their homeland. After the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, they began to flock here from different parts of Russia, but the border was closed due to quarantine.
Since then, Azerbaijan has periodically evacuated people in groups of 100-200, but newcomers arrived, there was not enough space for everyone, people complained about the heat and poor sanitation, and so on. The Dagestani authorities are trying the best they can to take care of them, but they continue to make insistent requests that Azerbaijan evacuate its citizens as soon as possible.
On June 15, the tensions came to a head. Outraged people who were once again left behind while others were evacuated, staged a protest. As a result, about a dozen protesters and four Russian security forces were injured, and more than 80 people were arrested for a period of 10 days.
This incident made a lot of noise in Russian media and Azerbaijani social networks. Azerbaijani media, on the contrary, almost completely ignored the incident, but Presidents Ilham Aliyev and Vladimir Putin discussed the situation over the phone on June 18.
Those stuck on the border believe that this incident was a turning point that drove the Azerbaijani authorities to action.