Russian jets over Georgia headed to Karabakh – skies open for first time in 12 years war
Russian military transport aircraft crossed Georgian airspace towards Armenia on November 10 and 11, according to Flightradar24.
The planes are carrying 2,000 Russian peacekeepers who are to be deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The agreement on the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone was signed by both Azerbaijan and Armenia.
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Georgian airspace has been closed to Russian military aircraft for 12 years following the August 2008 war.
The information spread on Facebook after users noticed Russian military transport aircraft flying over Georgia in the Flightradar24 airspace monitoring application.
After that, journalists asked the Georgian authorities for clarification, which confirmed the movement of Russian military transport aircraft.
Tbilisi views the opening of airspace as participation in the peace process.
The airspace was opened to Russian aircraft only ‘as an exception’ at the request of the countries that signed the agreement – Azerbaijan and Armenia, said Zurab Abashidze, the prime minister’s special representative for relations with Russia.
According to him, this was done in order for the peacekeepers to reach their destination as soon as possible, which is important to maintain a calm situation in Nagorno-Karabakh:
“In order to comply with the peace agreement, at the request of Azerbaijan and Armenia, part of the Russian peacekeepers will be transferred to the conflict zone using the Georgian airspace for a pre-agreed period. Our partners are also informed about this,” Abashidze said.
On the night of November 10, an agreement was signed between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia to end hostilities in Karabakh.
The agreement implies the return of border territories to Azerbaijan and the return of Azerbaijani refugees to Karabakh.
According to the document, the parties to the conflict pledged to end all hostilities from 00:00 Moscow time on November 10, 2020.
The peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation, consisting of 1,960 servicemen, 90 armored personnel carriers, 380 units of equipment, will be located along the line of contact and the Lachin corridor in Nagorno-Karabakh.