Moscow on Saturday (March 26) accused Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire with Armenia, signed after the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, by deploying troops to the area under the control of Russian forces in maintain the peace.
Incidents between Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces are frequent, but this is the first time since the end of the conflict in November 2020 that Moscow has accused one of the parties of violating the truce of which Vladimir Putin is the guarantor. This renewed tension comes in a tense context, at a time when Russia has launched a large-scale offensive against Ukraine.
“Between March 24 and 25, the armed forces of Azerbaijan violated the trilateral agreement of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia (…), entering the area under the responsibility of the Russian contingent of peacekeeping in Nagorno-Karabakh »denounced the Russian Ministry of Defense in a press release.
In Baku, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense has “regretted” the Russian statement “who does not reflect the truth and adopts only one point of view”. He assured that “Azerbaijan has not violated any clause” of the ceasefire agreement and also “asked the Russian Ministry of Defense to ensure the complete withdrawal of Armenian troops and illegal armed units from this territory internationally recognized as belonging to Azerbaijan”.
According to Russia, Azerbaijani forces set up an observation post and carried out “four strikes with Bayraktar-type drones” on Karabakh forces near the locality of Farukh. “The Russian command of the peacekeeping contingent is taking steps to resolve the situation (…) an appeal for the withdrawal of troops has been sent to the Azerbaijani side”the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
According to the Karabakh authorities, an Azerbaijani drone killed three people and injured fifteen. “The Azerbaijani armed forces are still in the village of Farukh”, lamented the Ministry of Defense of Karabakh. Russian diplomacy expressed its “deep concern”.
Two soldiers killed on Friday
The November 9, 2020 agreement signed by Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Armenia, Nikol Pashinian, and Azerbaijani, Ilham Aliev, had ended a violent six-week conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan for control of Nagorno-Karabakh. , pro-Armenian separatist territory. Azerbaijani forces had by then made significant territorial gains.
On Friday, Karabakh authorities reported two soldiers killed by Azerbaijani forces. The Armenian Foreign Ministry on Saturday denounced a “invasion” which took place on March 24 and was marked by “constant artillery fire”. He also accused his neighbor of having deprived Karabakh of gas, preventing the population from heating, and denounced a situation “on the brink of a humanitarian disaster”.
“We expect the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh to take clear steps to resolve the situation and prevent further combat casualties”added the Armenian diplomacy.
The Kremlin for its part indicated on Saturday that MM. Pashinyan and Putin had discussed the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh twice, the day before and the day before.
Populated mainly by Armenians, the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh, supported by Yerevan, seceded from Azerbaijan at the fall of the USSR, leading to a first war in the 1990s which caused the death of 30,000 people and made hundreds of thousands of refugees.
A new conflict broke out in the fall of 2020, killing 6,500 people in six weeks. It ended in a crushing defeat for Armenia, forced to cede to Azerbaijan three regions forming a glacis around Nagorno-Karabakh.