Locals and Russian rescue teams are working to clear the rubble in Nagorno-Karabakh’s largest city and de facto capital Stepanakert after the heavy fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended ten days ago.
Volunteers have been filling craters left by shelling and covering shattered windows with plastic sheets. Teams of civilian engineers and firefighters from Russia, meanwhile, have been cataloguing the residential buildings damaged and destroyed by mortar shells and rockets, RT’s Murad Gazdiev reported.
The shelling of Stepanakert stopped after the truce was signed between Yerevan and Baku on November 9, but life in the city is yet to return to normal as many have lost loved ones and their homes.
“They were in this room, two cousins and my grandmother. I was in that room over there, which wasn’t destroyed,” a local man said standing next to the rubble. “I fell off my bed, opened my eyes, and I only saw dust. It took me five minutes to crawl out the window.”
A woman told RT she considered herself lucky because only the windows at her house were blown out by a blast when other homes “suffered much worse.”
Rescuers and relief workers are now focusing on basic things, like replacing the windows and restoring electricity, so people can get through the winter.
The war in Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway enclave inside Azerbaijan that is mostly populated by Armenians, broke out on September 27. After weeks of heavy fighting and several failed attempts at a truce, a Russian-brokered ceasefire took effect on November 10. Under the accord, Armenia agreed to surrender a sizable chunk of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas to Azerbaijan, while a Russian peacekeeping force was deployed on the ground.
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