Russian soldiers have started what is set to become a 5-year-peacekeeping mission in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Lachin resident Valya Yegiazaryan says she cried when she saw the tanks go by.
Yegiazaryan runs a cafe in the town that lends its name to the strategic corridor soon to become the only passageway Armenians will have to reach the territory. The area is now guarded by Russian troops.
“They are so nice,” Yegiazaryan told Euronews. “I wake up in the morning and say to them ‘Hello, good morning, how are you doing?’ I ask if they want tea or coffee. They say no, no thank you. I wonder if they’re afraid to talk to us.”
Two thousand Russian soldiers are expected to monitor peace under the ceasefire deal negotiated by Moscow. They have started setting up observation posts alongside the M12 highway that runs through the corridor, still deeply marked by the latest round of fighting.
Most residents of the town of Lachin still have no electricity or running water. But some are determined to stay
“We’ve seen so much that it’s impossible not to be afraid,” says Araksia Makinyan. “But because of my homeland, because of the graves that I have here, because of the roof over my head, I really want to stay.”
Makinyan has lived here for 20 years. When the war broke, she didn’t leave. Instead, she decided to open her door to Armenian soldiers, who often come for a coffee or a nap, and who didn’t want to be filmed.
Now they’re leaving and Makinyan says it’s difficult to predict what will happen next.
“I want to stay here until the last days of my life because I am at an age where I can get a heart attack at any moment. Doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, this is my corner in the world.”
Her “corner of the world” is a land others also claim as rightfully theirs. But for now, peace seems to be secured by some powerful external players, and what happens after they’re gone is the question very few here dare to consider.