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How Russian Peacekeepers Stopped Hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh

 / Go to the mediabankRussian peacekeeper in Nagorno-Karabakh / Go to the mediabankInternationalIndiaAfricaAzerbaijan and representatives of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh ceased hostilities on September 20 through the mediation of Russian peacekeepers, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.An agreement was reached between Baku and representatives of Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday on a complete cessation of hostilities in the region. The implementation of these agreements will be carried out in coordination with the Russian peacekeeping contingent, as per the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Earlier, on September 19, Baku announced the launch of "local-level anti-terrorist activities" in Nagorno-Karabakh – an unrecognized republic regarded by Azerbaijan as its territory – aimed at "restoring the constitutional order." Azerbaijan accused the Armenians of violating Paragraph 4 of the agreements signed in November 2020 by Armenia and Azerbaijan through the mediation of Russia, beefing up their military presence in Nagorno-Karabakh, transferring ammunition, and mining, which resulted in casualties among both military and civilians.

Yerevan denied the accusations and denounced Baku’s actions as «aggression,» at the same time making it clear that the Armenian Armed Forces would not repel the Azerbaijan advance. The crux of the matter is that Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan recognized Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory in October 2022, and then reiterated that position in April and May 2023.The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is an internal matter of Azerbaijan, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told a Russian broadcaster on September 20.»Karabakh is an internal matter of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan acts on its territory, which is recognized by the leadership of Armenia,» Peskov said, adding: «We are convinced that all rights and security of the Armenian population of Karabakh must be ensured.»© AP Photo / Sergei GritsFILE — In this Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 file photo, An ethnic Armenian soldier stands guard next to Nagorno-Karabakh’s flag atop of the hill near Charektar , Nov. 25, 2020FILE — In this Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 file photo, An ethnic Armenian soldier stands guard next to Nagorno-Karabakh’s flag atop of the hill near Charektar , Nov. 25, 2020

What’s Behind Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict Over Nagorno-Karabakh?

«As per international law, the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to Azerbaijan,» Dr. Swasti Rao, an associate fellow at the Europe and Eurasia Center at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, told Sputnik. «This is the third time there is so much violence here. The first war was after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. In the first war, those regions were taken by Armenia. And there was a war which was fought in 2020, when the same regions were taken back by Azerbaijan. And according to international law, all those regions are actually Azerbaijani territory.»The September 2023 events were the third time when ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijani forces clashed over Nagorno-Karabakh, which proclaimed its secession from Baku in 1991-1992. Previously, hostilities erupted in the early 1990s and in 2020. The 2020 conflict ended with a Russia-mediated ceasefire and the deployment of Russian peacekeepers to the region.The legal status of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has always been controversial. Under the Alma-Ata Protocols of 1991, which set the founding principles of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) following the collapse of the USSR, Nagorno-Karabakh – the autonomous region within the former Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) – became a part of the new Azerbaijani state. Nonetheless, the predominantly Armenian-populated region did not agree with the established status quo and declared independence. Since 1994, the breakaway region has been largely reliant on Armenia and in many ways has been functioning as a de facto part of Armenia.© Sputnik / Go to the mediabankArmenian PM Nikol Pashinyan addresses Parliament on September 14, 2022Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan addresses Parliament on September 14, 2022 / Go to the mediabankStill, during his prime ministership, Nikol Pashinyan sent mixed signals with regard to the future of Nagorno-Karabakh. Prior to the second Karabakh conflict in 2020, Pashinyan repeatedly argued that «Artsakh is Armenia. Period.»However, in October 2022, Azerbaijan’s President Ilhan Aliyev and Pashinyan signed a statement in Prague recognizing the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1991, thus officially confirming Baku’s legitimate mandate over Nagorno-Karabakh.While addressing the Armenian parliament in April 2023, Pashinyan stated that peace in the South Caucasus is only possible if Armenia recognizes that its territory amounts to the 29,800 square kilometers of the former Armenian SSR in accordance with the Alma-Ata Protocol of 1991. In May 2023, in Brussels, at a summit under the auspices of the European Union, the borders of the two countries were again reaffirmed by Aliev and Pashinyan, confirming Azerbaijan’s rights over Nagorno-Karabakh.»Basically the thing is that the Nagorno-Karabakh under international law does not belong to Armenia. It belongs to Azerbaijan. And Azerbaijan is then at least justified in maintaining its position,» Dr. Rao said.WorldRussian Peacekeepers Actively Working With All Parties Involved in Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict — PutinYesterday, 11:16 GMT

How Russian Peacekeepers Shielded Armenians in Conflict Zone

Russian peacekeepers played a crucial role in both mediating the ceasefire and evacuating ethnic Armenians from the conflict zone. Since the beginning of active hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian peacekeepers have evacuated 3,154 people, including 1,428 children, from the Mardakert, Martuni, and Askeran regions, according to the bulletin of the Russian Ministry of Defense.»Through the mediation of the command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, an agreement was reached with the warring parties on a complete cessation of hostilities,» the ministry’s statement reads.However, the Russian military sustained losses during the peacekeeping operation. The Russian Ministry of Defense reported earlier on Wednesday that during the return of a Russian contingent from an observation post in the area of the village of Dzhanyatag, Nagorno-Karabakh, a car with Russian military servicemen came under fire. As a result, the Russian peacekeepers in the vehicle were killed, the ministry said. «To clarify all the circumstances of the incident, Russian and Azerbaijani representatives of the investigative authorities are working on the spot,» the ministry noted, adding that following the cessation of hostilities, no violations of the ceasefire had been recorded so far.AnalysisHow the West Drags Armenia to Its Side Amid NATO Proxy War in Ukraine6 September, 19:55 GMT

How West Proved Incapable of Solving Nagorno-Karabakh Crisis

After the Russian peacekeepers stopped the conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had a telephone conversation, during which they discussed the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and issues on the bilateral Armenian-Russian agenda, per the Armenian government’s press service.»This particular peace […] has actually come because of the efforts of the Russian peacekeepers,» Dr. Rao said. «This is a good sign that Russia is reasserting its influence in the region, because Russia has been the traditional guarantor of security in these regions. On the other hand, it is a kind of an embarrassment for the European Union in a way, because despite all their efforts, they have not been able to come to a lasting solution.»The Indian scholar highlighted that despite Pashinyan’s efforts to internationalize the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis and obtain support from the West, neither the US nor the European Union have proven to be capable of solving the regional dilemma.The fact that Russia stepped in and stopped the bloodshed in Nagorno-Karabakh again has busted the Armenian prime minister’s earlier claims – made during an interview with a Western media outlet – that Moscow’s influence was «waning» in the South Caucasus and that Russia was «leaving» the region.»And from New Delhi’s perspective, people definitely want an immediate cessation of violence, which thankfully has happened. And we would ask all sides to exercise that restraint and try the diplomatic channels, because I think now several decades of fighting has shown that there is no solution through violence, there has to be diplomatic negotiation. And for that, I think every side and all the political stakeholders, etc. have to come to the table at the same time,» Dr. Rao concluded.

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