Explosion at fuel depot in Nagorno-Karabakh kills 20, injures 200
The explosion hit as Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh were leaving the contested area that Azerbaijan had taken control of in the wake of the recent military operation.
Twenty people died in Monday's fuel depot explosion in Nagorno-Karabakh, local officials said on Tuesday.
Nagorno-Karabakh combatants said in a statement that "13 unidentified bodies" had been found at the scene and seven more people died in hospital.
Armenian media reported, on Monday, that over 200 people sustained injuries due to an explosion at a gas station in the vicinity of Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Khankendi.
BREAKING - Petrol depot explodes just outside of Stepanakert, Nagorno Karabakh, in the Haykazov area, amid locals queuing to fill up, unconfirmed reports of tens of casualties, killed and injured. No confirmation on numbers.— Nagorno Karabakh Observer (@NKobserver) September 25, 2023
Video not official. pic.twitter.com/DtHRaF1hk0
The Armenian Health Ministry has reported that Armenian experts are in contact with their counterparts in Stepanakert, providing advisory support. They have also noted that active efforts are underway to organize the transportation of the injured people to Armenia via helicopter.
Simultaneously, the Azerbaijani president's administration announced dispatching an ambulance carrying burn relief kits, dressings, gloves, and medications to Stepanakert, intended for the treatment of 200 individuals.
After Azerbaijan began conducting military actions in Nagorno-Karabakh on September 19, the Armenian government reported on Monday that around 3,000 people had entered Armenia from the contested region.
"As of September 25, 6:00 am [02:00 GMT], 2,906 forcibly displaced persons entered Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh. Of these, registration information for 2,100 have been summarized, and the need assessment of 794 is still in process," the Armenian government said in a statement.
According to the statement, 1,100 of the 2,100 registered immigrants who arrived in Armenia "wanted to go to places of residence decided by themselves," and the remaining approximately 1,000 were housed by the government.
The statement further stated that "forcibly displaced persons" continued to arrive throughout the night.
What do you need to know?
Azerbaijan initiated a military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh on September 19, with the announced goal of "restoring constitutional order." Baku further claimed that Azerbaijani forces only attacked Armenian military facilities in the region.
The attack followed just days after Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan officially acknowledged that his country recognizes the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region as part of Azerbaijan's sovereign territory.
Azerbaijan held last week a first round of "reintegration" talks with the Armenian Karabakh combatants after they agreed to lay down their weapons against the backdrop of the day-long military offensive.
The combatants said they were in Russian-mediated talks with Baku to organize the withdrawal process and the return of civilians displaced by the fighting.