More than 200 people were Injured in an Explosion at a Gas Station in Nagorno-KarabakhWorld | September 26, 2023, Tuesday // 10:06| views
More than 200 people were injured after an explosion at a gas station in Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday, Reuters reported, citing local media and the Karabakh ombudsman.
Most of the injured are in serious condition and must be transported elsewhere by air, as Karabakh is unable to treat them. The incident was caused by a strong explosion in a gasoline warehouse not far from the Stepanakert - Askeran road, BTA adds.
Authorities in the region, located in Azerbaijan, later confirmed the death of at least 20 people. 290 people were admitted to hospitals, some in critical condition.
There are victims and wounded. People who suffered burns were taken to medical facilities. The Russian peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh said it had taken over the treatment of 23 wounded and was currently considering where to transfer them.
The cause of the explosion is still unclear. It comes as Azerbaijani troops enter the disputed region, populated mostly by Armenians, after capturing it in a lightning military operation last week, DPA noted.
Images shared on social media showed large flames. Politician Metaxa Hakobyan said that at the time of the incident, many people were queuing for gas at the site because they wanted to travel to Armenia.
Residents of Nagorno-Karabakh, mainly ethnic Armenians, began leaving their homes on Sunday, with Yerevan reporting that around 5% of the region's 120,000 population have already crossed into Armenia. The Armenian government announced that as of Tuesday morning, 13,550 people from Nagorno-Karabakh had arrived in Armenia.
Meanwhile, representatives of Armenia and Azerbaijan are preparing to meet in Brussels today for talks under the auspices of the United Nations. If it takes place, it will be the first bilateral meeting since Azerbaijan established control over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, home to 120,000 ethnic Armenians.
The talks in Brussels, at the level of security advisers, will be chaired by Simon Mordue, chief diplomatic adviser to European Council President Charles Michel. Representatives of France and Germany will also participate.
More than 6,500 ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh have so far evacuated to Armenia, worried about future repression and ethnic cleansing, despite assurances from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that Baku will guarantee the security and rights of all residents of the region.
Russia and the United States have traded accusations of destabilizing the South Caucasus.
"We urge Washington to refrain from extremely dangerous statements and actions that lead to an artificial strengthening of anti-Russian sentiments in Armenia," said Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov. Earlier, a State Department spokesman commented that Russia was not a reliable security partner after Armenia resented the inaction of Russian peacekeeping forces.
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