March 2, 2021 - 10:59 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - About 30 pilgrims from Nagorno-Karabakh, accompanied by Russian peacekeepers, have visited the Armenian monastery of Amaras which is situated close to the new contact line with Azerbaijan, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday, March 2.
"As part of the implementation of the trilateral statement of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia dated November 9, 2020, Russian peacekeepers continue to assist in the restoration of peaceful life in Nagorno-Karabakh," the Ministry said in a statement.
"As a result of the agreements reached, the Amaras monastery found itself in close proximity to the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh."
Russian peacekeepers also accompany Armenian pilgrims to the medieval Armenian monastery of Dadivank, which came under Azerbaijan's control following the 44-day war in Karabakh in fall 2020.
During the recent military hostilities, Azerbaijani forces launched two targeted attacks on the Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi. After taking control of the city, they destroyed the domes of Saint John the Baptist Church. Azerbaijan earlier "restored" a church by replacing its Armenian inscription with glass art.
Concerns about the preservation of cultural sites in Nagorno-Karabakh are made all the more urgent by the Azerbaijani government’s history of systemically destroying indigenous Armenian heritage—acts of both warfare and historical revisionism. The Azerbaijani government has secretly destroyed a striking number of cultural and religious artifacts in the late 20th century. Within Nakhichevan alone, a historically Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani forces destroyed at least 89 medieval churches, 5,840 khachkars (Armenian cross stones) and 22,000 historical tombstones between 1997 and 2006.