Aug 5, 2022
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Nagorno-Karabakh: Erdogan and Putin will meet to the accompaniment of skirmishes in the mountains

Nagorno-Karabakh: Erdogan and Putin will meet to the accompaniment of skirmishes in the mountains

Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS

Moscow, in addition to the NMD in Ukraine, has another headache – clashes in the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), during which there are dead and wounded on both sides. The aggravation on the line of contact, which threatens to escalate into a third Karabakh war, happened on August 3 – two days before the negotiations Putin as well as Erdogan in Sochi.

Events in Nagorno-Karabakh raise questions for Russian peacekeepers, Armenian Prime Minister said on August 4 Nikol Pashinyan. “We expect that any attempt to violate the line of contact should be stopped by Russian peacekeepers, and the Azerbaijani units that are inside this line should be withdrawn,” he demanded.

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation blames Baku for the aggravation. “In the area of ​​​​the height of Sarybab, the ceasefire regime was violated by the armed forces of Azerbaijan … Russian peacekeeping units conducted patrols along two routes in the Mardakert and Martuni regions,” the ministry said in a statement.

According to Azerbaijan, the first to start were the Armenian military, who “committed a sabotage and terrorist act”, because of which one soldier from Baku died. In addition, the Armenian forces tried to capture a hill in the mountain range on the territory of the Kalbajar and Lachin regions, which was ceded to Baku under the 2020 agreement.

In response to these actions of the Armenian side, Azerbaijan carried out the “Retribution” operation, as a result of which several “dominant heights” in the Sarybaba region were taken under control. Now there are works on the arrangement of new positions and the construction of access roads. Also, with the help of Bayraktars, a blow was struck at a military unit in the Kalbajar region.

The authorities of the unrecognized Republic of Artsakh announced two dead and 14 wounded, after which they announced a partial mobilization. The Armenian Foreign Ministry called on “the international community to take measures to stop the aggressive behavior and actions of Azerbaijan.” In turn, Baku insists on the demilitarization of Nagorno-Karabakh and the complete withdrawal of Armenian military units.

Now world institutions have again rushed to reconcile the conflicting parties. The CSTO Secretary General called on the conflicting parties to return to diplomatic methods Stanislav Zasrepresentatives of the foreign policy departments of the United States and the European Union. The Kremlin also spoke about the need to fulfill the agreements.

One gets the impression that someone needed to aggravate the situation on the eve of the talks between the presidents of Russia and Turkey. To disrupt possible agreements?

– At the talks in Sochi, most likely, we will talk about resolving the crisis in Ukraine, about the possible sale of Bayraktarov to Russia – our side expressed such a desire, about the implementation of a grain deal and about projects in the energy sector – says political scientist Aslan Rubaev. – Economic issues for the Turkish elite are now extremely important. The trade turnover between our countries grew by 50% over the year. This can only be envied.

“SP”: – But now it will not be possible to get around the topic of Karabakh …

– The latest aggravation in Karabakh will not pass without a trace, because, I think, Turkey is behind this. After all, everything is being done for the sake of the Zengezur corridor, which Baku wants to break through in order to connect Azerbaijan with Nakhichevan and Turkey. And this corresponds to the pan-Turkic plans of Ankara. Naturally, Baku would also like this, but today it is not completely autonomous in terms of decision-making. It is fully controlled by Turkey. Aliyev’s ambitions are stifled by Erdogan.

I would not like to say that you need to keep your eyes open with him, but you have to. Erdogan is on his mind. This is a person who thinks in imperial ambitions, who has a huge interest in the Turkic-speaking peoples of the post-Soviet space. He has a huge influence in Kyrgyzstan, in Kazakhstan. It was noticeable during the visit Tokaev to Istanbul, which was literally accompanied by applause and enthusiasm in social networks. And then there is Azerbaijan nearby.

At the same time, Erdogan, who no longer values ​​relations with Europe and America, still values ​​relations with Russia. For example, the situation in Syria depends on us.

“SP”: – Nevertheless, he is not averse to arranging problems for us in the Transcaucasus. Although this region is explosive even without Erdogan…

— Armenia, where the fund’s positions are strong Sorosnow ruled by elites who are not interested in a stable state. For them, fighting for a strong Armenia means fighting for a strong, stable ally of Russia in the South Caucasus. Armenia used to be like that, but today, unfortunately, it has lost its subjectivity. It cannot stay within its borders, it is rapidly losing its positions in Karabakh. If Baku manages to break through a corridor to Turkey, this will be the complete collapse of Armenia.

Azerbaijan is interested in the corridor, because at one time it lost the war, lost land, loved ones, relatives – this is a blood feud for centuries. It will always be there and will never go away. The only thing that can solve this problem is some kind of confederation in which there will be no territorial claims, and if there are, then the instigators will be put behind bars. It used to be, but now it’s out of the realm of fantasy. Russia can no longer resolve these issues by force, only by diplomacy.

There is also the factor of Iran, which is extremely dissatisfied. Tehran has already issued a statement in which it expressed concern if Azerbaijan’s ambitions are realized by the increased presence of Turkey, whose army is the second most powerful among NATO countries, and, possibly, by the appearance of Israel in this story. There already smacks of a serious regional conflict, the consequences of which can be no less catastrophic than in Kosovo.

“SP”: – What is your forecast for the development of events in Karabakh?

– Azerbaijan took advantage of international tension (the situation in Serbia and around Taiwan almost got out of control this week) and violated the trilateral agreements, ignoring Russia as a mediator. It is sad. The conflict has already flared up and will only gain momentum. Especially if national forces come to power in Armenia. The situation could get out of control at any moment. There will be a powerful regional conflict.

I suppose that Aliyev is in a certain euphoria from the fact that such a powerful state as Turkey stands behind him. Despite the fact that in the Turkish political elite and even in society, Azerbaijanis are perceived as a second-rate people. Erdogan is a weather vane. If he needs to sacrifice allies for the sake of new benefits for Turkey, he will not hesitate to throw Azerbaijan into the furnace.

Head of the Center for the Study of Public Applied Problems of National Security, military expert Alexander Zhilin foresees difficulties in resolving the Karabakh crisis.

– The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in Karabakh is eternal. It will be maintained and sharpened constantly. Erdogan may well be involved in this. It’s his style. He understands the Kremlin’s policy and calculates many steps ahead. The President of Turkey is now one of the most successful politicians in the world in terms of achieving the goals he sets.

And if you look at the problem more broadly, then I do not exclude that our “partners” will try to set fires for us along the entire perimeter of our border. And we will be forced to respond to this for reasons of national security. This is how hybrid warfare is carried out now. And we all count tanks and guns. This requires strategic planning, which is lame in our country.

“SP”: – Moreover, it is necessary to put pressure on Erdogan in order to suppress Karabakh …

– Moscow does not have enough trump cards against Ankara. Erdogan controls the straits and can close the supply of necessary supplies to our group in Syria. And then we will carry kerosene and ammunition by plane and they will be “gold”. Erdogan built everything competently – we depend on him more. And the Kremlin forgives him everything: the supply of UAVs to Kyiv, the murder of pilots, the ambassador.

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