On the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia, it is again troubled, blood is shed, mortars are fired, various artillery mounts, the enemy even uses tanks to capture Azerbaijani positions in the Tovuz region of Azerbaijan. Yesterday, the Armed Forces of Armenia flagrantly violated the ceasefire and fired artillery shells at the positions of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan in the Tovuz direction of the Azerbaijani-Armenian state border. As a result of the return fire and counter-offensive of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, an attempt to attack the armed forces of Armenia was prevented. According to the official information of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, four Azerbaijani soldiers were killed as a result of the Armenian provocation, and on the Armenian side, according to unofficial data, the number of deaths exceeded more than 30 people. The military operation is getting involved hundreds of Armenian soldiers, tanks and other types of heavy equipment. The Azerbaijani army struck at the enemy stronghold, as a result of which living force was destroyed.
Frankly, the escalation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict was quite expected due to the growing social pressure on the Armenian authorities for several years. The Pashinyan administration had to face several serious challenges at the same time – the economic crisis in the country because of Covid-19 broke out, internal political intrigues intensified, as did pressure from the opposition and opponents on Pashinyan himself. In this case, the only way out of this impasse could be a small war with Azerbaijan to distract the attention of its people from serious socio-economic problems within the country caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Armenian leadership did just that.
The military provocation committed by Armenia on the border, is another proof of the disinterestedness of official Yerevan in the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict through negotiations. Each time Armenia declares its firm commitment to the peace talks, but in reality everything looks different – the negotiations held under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group from the day of the armistice to the present day did not have any positive effect, that is, the status quo around Nagorno-Karabakh and 7 occupied Azerbaijani regions continues to remain unchanged.
Armenia, having grossly violated the UN Charter and other obligations of international law, in the 90s occupied the region of Nagorno-Karabakh of Azerbaijan and seven adjacent regions. The international community is well aware that Armenia openly ignores UN Security Council resolutions Nos. 822, 853, 874 and 884, requiring the complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Not only did they occupy the historical Azerbaijani lands, they also engaged in provocation in order to set Russia, the United States against Azerbaijan, and involve military-political organizations, for example, the CSTO (Armenia is a member of this organization) in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in the hope of securing it support in the event of a large-scale war between Armeria and Azerbaijan. All CSTO member countries, with the exception of Armenia, have a friendly policy towards Azerbaijan, including Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
As for the position of Russia, the priorities of the South Caucasian policy of Russia changed slightly after the coming to power of NikolPashinyan, who took a course towards expanding cooperation with the West. Official Moscow will not support Armenia, as it was in the 90s during the Karabakh war. After the collapse of the USSR, Russia lost influence in some post-Soviet countries – in Georgia and Ukraine, the Russian economy weakened due to US sanctions. Russia, of course, will not help Azerbaijan, but will make efforts to restore peace and stability in the South Caucasus region. However, if Turkey stands up for Azerbaijan, Russia’s intervention in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict will become inevitable.
On the other hand, Armenia should clearly realize that official Baku will never allow the creation of a second Armenian state on the territory of Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved within the framework of the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, since there is no other option. Official Baku is ready to provide the Nagorno-Karabakh region with wider autonomy under the jurisdiction of Azerbaijan, a guarantee for the full provision of the civil, socio-economic, cultural rights of the Armenian population living there in accordance with the legislation of Azerbaijan and international law.
However, for this, the Armenian side should actively participate in the negotiations on the Karabakh issue, and respect the UN charter, carry out all four revolutions of the UN Security Council on the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the territory of Azerbaijan. Until UN resolutions are implemented, armed confrontations will continue both at the border and in the conflict zone. The escalation of the conflict in the Tovuz direction is a good example of this.
Unfortunately, negotiations on the Karabakh issue for more than 25 years have not yielded the desired results, the ceasefire is being observed less and less, and over the past few years, Armenian provocations have become more frequent not only in the conflict zone, but also on the border. The only way out of this situation is war, but Azerbaijan has no interest in large-scale military operations against Armenia, since it counts on a settlement of the conflict through peace talks. The fighting is still ongoing. How it all ends, time will tell.
The writer is the director of the international expert club EurAsiaAz and editor-in-chief of Azerbaijan news agency Vzglyad.az