Correspondent in Moscow
Tensions between Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers are intensifying, including shootings with the occasional dead on both sides, on the border between the two countries, but beyond Nagorno Karabaj. So the prime minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinián, plans to request Russia to protect its troops by deploying forces along the entire border line with Azerbaijan.
Pashinian launched such a proposal during a meeting of his government held yesterday in Yerevan, the country’s capital. After a few days of relative calm, this week the shootings resumed on the border. According to Baku, two Azerbaijani soldiers were injured while Yerevan reports three dead. Both parties accuse each other of violating the ceasefire reached in November.
“In view of the serious situation, I think it makes sense to consider the issue of the deployment of Russian border guards on the border with Azerbaijan,” Pashinian told his ministers. In his words, such a measure “would allow the demarcation and delimitation of the border to be carried out without the risk of armed confrontations.”
However, the Kremlin has refused to comment on the request of the head of the Armenian government. Asked yesterday about it, the spokesman for the Russian Presidency, Dmitri Peskov, limited himself to pointing out that Russia “continues to help to reestablish the ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan». “Work continues to ensure the full implementation of the agreements signed,” he added.
Agreement between Yerevan and Baku
Peskov was referring to the ceasefire agreement signed between Yerevan and Baku, mediated by Moscow, the November 9, 2020, after six weeks of a war that caused more than 6,500 deaths and ended with the victory of Azerbaijan, something that the Armenians have not yet digested. The document established a new delimitation of the border between the two countries and in Nagorno Karabaj a Russian peacekeeping force made up of about 2,000 troops was deployed.
These troops also have the mission of controlling the Lachín corridor, a road that connects Nagorno Karabakh with Armenia, but, nevertheless, they are not in the places that have lately been the scene of armed confrontations between Azerbaijani and Armenian units, especially in the surrounding area. from Nakhichevan, an Azerbaijani enclave with no direct connection by land with the rest of the country.
In November it was also agreed that talks would begin for a lasting peace and the reestablishment of diplomatic relations. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, met Pashinyan and the Azerbaijani president in Moscow in January, Ilham Alíev, with the intention of accelerating the approach, but did not even succeed in shaking hands.
Raid of Azerbaijani forces
Things got worse in mid-May, when Pashinián invoked the performance of the Organization of the Collective Security Pact (ODKB in its acronym in Russian), defensive structure of former Soviet republics to which Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan belong. The reason for such an appeal was due, according to the Armenian prime minister, to the fact that Azerbaijani forces penetrated into territory belonging to Armenia.
Azerbaijan justified such an incursion by the need to initiate border delimitation work in the Siunik region, a narrow strip of territory located between Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani enclave of Nakhichevan. The border layout was altered there after the Armenian defeat. However, the Government of Yerevan denounced that it is intended to delimit the border unilaterally and without having yet reestablished diplomatic relations.
Pashinian was in Moscow at the beginning of July to complain to Putin and, on the 20th, it was Aliyev who also did it and asked him to summon Armenia to conclude a peace treaty as soon as possible with the aim of thinking about the economy and developing the region, especially through the urgent creation of a transport network. But Pashinyan distrusts Azerbaijan, believes that its leaders “plan to unleash new clashes in Nagorno Karabakh and on the border with Armenia.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism