By Daphne Psaledakis
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will provide over $4.1 million in aid for people affected by the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, the United States Agency for International Development said in a statement, after Azerbaijan’s recapture of the region prompted a mass exodus of Armenians.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been at odds for decades, most notably over the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which Baku’s forces recaptured in September, prompting a mass exodus of most of the region’s 120,000 ethnic Armenians to neighboring Armenia.
USAID said the additional aid, which has not been previously reported, will support efforts to provide assistance for almost 74,000 refugees and displaced people from the region who are sheltering in Armenia.
The aid will increase food assistance and provide humanitarian protection and emergency shelter, according to the statement.
The additional aid will bring the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for the Nagorno-Karabakh response to nearly $28 million since 2020, according to the statement.
“The U.S. stands with civilians affected by Azerbaijan’s military operation and supports the Armenian government’s efforts to help those in need,” the statement read.
The two Caucasian countries have been in conflict most notably over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but largely populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians with Yerevan’s support until Baku recaptured it in September.
USAID chief Samantha Power traveled to Armenia and Azerbaijan in September following Azerbaijan’s defeat of the breakaway region’s fighters in the conflict dating from the Soviet era.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Armenian government and the Armenian people for opening their homes and their hearts to the displaced. We will continue to stand with them throughout this crisis,” Power said.
The Armenians of Karabakh – part of Azerbaijan that had been beyond Baku’s control since the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union – began fleeing after their forces were routed in the operation by Azerbaijan’s military.
(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)