Baku (Web Desk): At least 20 people have been killed and almost 300 injured in a powerful explosion at a fuel storage depot in the Nagorno-Karabakh region as thousands of ethnic Armenians fled amid the Azerbaijani military offensive last week.
The region’s health department said that 13 bodies were found and seven people had succumbed to their injuries late on Monday, after the blast outside the regional capital of Stepanakert (called Khankendi by Azerbaijan).
According to international media sources, at least 290 people were admitted to hospitals, while dozens of them were in critical condition after the blast at the facility near the regional capital of Stepanakert on Monday evening.
As per the reports, the cause of the blast is still to be determined.
The announcement of the death toll came amid people fleeing the region, with the Armenian government saying that more than thirteen thousand people have completed evacuation from this enclave as of Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, Moscow said that Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh were assisting the evacuation. About 700 people were in the peacekeepers’ camp on Monday night.
While Azerbaijan has promised to respect the rights of ethnic Armenians in the region and restore supplies after a blockade for 10 moths, many local residents decided to leave for Armenia fearing retributions.
The explosion took place hours after the second round of talks between Azerbaijani officials and separatist representatives were held in the town of Khojaly, just north of the Nagorno-Karabakh capital. The first round was held last week.