Baku blames Russian peacekeepers for recent fire exchange in Karabakh
Azerbaijan accused the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Karabakh claiming that amid the inaction of the peacekeepers, the military personnel of the Armenian Armed Forces are being transferred to this region of Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan has given a note to Iran, opposing the travel of Iranian trucks to a part of Karabakh that is not currently under Azerbaijani control.
- Commentary from Yerevan: Why the fighting continues at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border?
- Сommentary from Baku: What are the causes of tensions at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border?
- Op-ed: How is Russia benefiting from Armenian- Azerbaijani confrontation?
Transfer of Armenian military personnel to Karabakh
On August 9, 2021, the Azerbaijani edition of caliber.az, known for its ties with the country’s authorities, published a sensational article about the transfer of Armenian military personnel to the territory of Karabakh.
“… Armenia has transferred personnel there in 12 KamAZ trucks, three Ural trucks, as well as several KUNGs (a truck with a zero-size universal body used to transport military personnel). In addition, servicemen in civilian clothes are being transferred from Armenia to Karabakh by cars”, the message says.
It is especially noted that these actions take place with the silent approval of the Russian peacekeeping contingent.
Peacekeepers reported a shootout
The next day, August 10, 2021, in the newsletter of the command of the peacekeeping forces of the Russian Federation in Karabakh, a message appeared about a shootout in their area of responsibility:
“… On August 9 at 17.45 in the area of the settlement of Shusha, there was an exchange of fire from small arms between the armed formations of Nagorno-Karabakh and the armed forces of Azerbaijan.
Following the efforts of the Russian peacekeepers, the shooting was stopped, there were no casualties. The command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, together with the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides, is conducting an investigation of the incident”.
Baku immediately drew attention to the fact that the peacekeepers have changed their rhetoric towards the Armenian armed forces in Karabakh. In a previous, similar message from the command of the peacekeeping forces, they were referred to as “the armed forces of Armenia”.
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry blames peacekeepers
On August 11, 2021, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry issued a harsh statement, in which, for the first time since the deployment of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Karabakh, it accused the Russian contingent of inaction.
“The complete withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the territories of Azerbaijan, where the peacekeeping forces of the Russian Federation are temporarily deployed, is not fully ensured in accordance with the trilateral statement signed on November 10, 2020, by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the President of the Russian Federation and the Prime Minister of Armenia.
In recent days, Armenia, grossly violating the trilateral statement, has been transferring its armed forces personnel to the territory of Azerbaijan, where the peacekeeping forces of the Russian Federation are temporarily deployed, establishing new Armenian posts near the settlements of Mukhtarkand, Shushakend, as well as in the eastern direction of the administrative borders of Kalbajar and Lachin regions. …
The Azerbaijani army is taking adequate measures to prevent this. The Armenian side purposefully resorts to such provocations to aggravate the situation.
All this is happening amid the irresponsible and provocative call of the new Minister of Defense of Armenia Arshak Karapetyan to use the force of the Armenian army by all means. The former Minister of Defense of Armenia David Tonayan also came out with a provocative military doctrine called “new wars, new territories”. His shameful fate is known to everyone.
The Azerbaijani army will take adequate measures.
Russian peacekeepers must put an end to the deployment of the Armenian Armed Forces to the territory of Azerbaijan”, the statement of the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry says.
Azerbaijan’s note to Iran
On the same day, Azerbaijan sent a note to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“The Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Azerbaijan was summoned to the Foreign Ministry.
At the meeting, the ambassador’s attention was drawn to the revealed undesirable facts of the illegal passage of trucks belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran into Karabakh, in connection with which a note was handed to the opposite side.
It says that lately, vehicles for various purposes with Iranian license plates are constantly entering and leaving the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan without the permission of official Baku.
The dissatisfaction expressed orally to the Iranian side some time ago was once again brought to the attention of the Iranian ambassador.
It was also noted at the meeting that the new Iranian administration will take practical steps to suppress such alarming cases that do not correspond to the spirit of the existing relations of friendship and partnership between the two countries”, the press service of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.
Commentary from Baku
“There is only one road to Khankendi (the Armenian side calls this city Stepanakert – JAMnews) – from Lachin, near Shusha, and this road cannot be called a“ corridor ”, no official document indicates it as a corridor. Therefore, we will not call this road, temporarily under the control of Russia, a corridor”, said Natik Jafari, an Azerbaijani politician, one of the leaders of the opposition Republican Alternative party.
According to him, the specified road is under the complete control of Russia. “Neither our soldiers, nor the border guards, nor our customs control the situation on that road – which means that this sovereignty of Azerbaijan in this part of our country is not ensured”, he continued.
“And if the road is controlled by Russia, then the transfer of soldiers and officers from Armenia to Khankendi in recent days is carried out with the permission of the Kremlin.
If this is the Kremlin’s doing then it has some kind of plan, and let’s consider the possible versions of it:
1. Holding Pashinyan at gunpoint. Having failed to defeat Nikol Pashinyan either by means of military or via the elections, the Kremlin decided to leave him face to face with an even more severe defeat, thereby finally killing the love of the West among the Armenian elite, and society. Such a scenario may even lead to the fact that the Armenians agree to become part of Russia or the “Union State” (Belarus will also be included here). After that, we will no longer border on Armenia, but on this very “Union State”, passports of this state will be handed out in Khankendi, and we will finally lose this region;
2. Holding Azerbaijan at gunpoint. Russia demands from Azerbaijan to become a member of the Eurasian and customs unions and the CSTO, Aliyev justifiably refuses this, and for this reason, the Kremlin is preparing a counterattack with the help of the Armenians, which may be crowned with several successful military operations. Azerbaijan will be forced to join these organizations, at the same time Russia is restoring its lost authority in the Armenian society and Armenia is turning its face to its northern neighbor;
3. Holding Turkey at gunpoint. We all know that the interests of Russia and Turkey, one might say, collide at every step, and they are forced to remain in the form of “dear enemies.” For Moscow, the growth of Turkey’s prestige in Azerbaijan, and in the South Caucasus in general, is unacceptable. Increasing tensions in Karabakh, the Kremlin is directly negotiating with Turkey, and Karabakh is becoming only a part of this bargaining. Moscow and Ankara are solving their problems, and we can only come to terms with this agreement.
All these three versions are a source of danger for us, a serious trap. In order not to fall into this trap, Azerbaijan must urgently go to the creation of a complex mechanism for governing the country, to make the parliament a more effective structure. The Milli Mejlis (parliament of Azerbaijan – JAMnews) adopts a document in which the peacekeepers receive “illegal” status, the president does not sign this document, and thus a subject for bargaining with Moscow is created. It is for this reason that we called the decision to deploy a peacekeeping contingent in Karabakh without the permission of the parliament correct. This fact creates room for maneuver.
As a nation and a state, we are facing a serious test, and only the spirit of anakkale can take us out of this stage (meaning the Battle of anakkale – one of the decisive moments of Turkey’s struggle against the Western occupiers under the leadership of Ataturk – JAMnews). It is clear that we cannot fight with Russia, it is clear that Turkey will not enter the war with Russia because of us, but there is one way out: a new mechanism for governing the country. I see no other way. Ilham Aliyev must agree to the distribution of responsibility and authority, and do it so subtly so that we can overcome these challenges. we are ready to help him in this”, Jafarli said.