Tensions in Karabakh: No significant withdrawal of Azerbaijani troops, Armenia says
Armenia reports tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh
The Security Council of Armenia issued a statement noting that the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is extremely tense. This information is confirmed by the journalists of the Armenian media, who are currently working in NK. Meanwhile, the Telegram channel of the Russian peacekeeping forces stationed there after the second Karabakh war reports that the mission command decided to put forward reserve forces in the area of the village of Parukh “to block the further advance of the Azerbaijani troops”.
The situation in NK has escalated on March 24. Azerbaijani troops advanced precisely in the zone of responsibility of Russian peacekeepers, occupying the village of Parukh (the Azerbaijanis call it Farrukh) and the strategic height of Karaglukh (Dashbashi). Women and children of nearby villages were evacuated for safety reasons. As a result of hostilities, three Armenian servicemen were killed, 16 were injured.
In this regard, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, in a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, stressed that the Armenian side expects an investigation into the actions of Russian peacekeepers and the return of the Azerbaijani armed forces to their original positions.
Baku explains its offensive actions by Armenia’s failure to comply with 4 points of the tripartite statement of November 10, 2020, which put an end to the 2020 war. This refers to the clause which specifies that Armenian armed forces must leave Karabakh. The Armenian side emphasizes that there is no Armenian Armed Forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the document does not say that the unrecognized republic cannot have armed forces.
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“Prevent new military escalation”
“Analysis of the situation shows that Azerbaijan is preparing a ground for new provocations and an attack on Nagorno-Karabakh, trying to find imaginary justifications, specifically by accusing Armenia of destructive actions on the issue of a peace agreement”, the Armenian Security Council said in a statement.
In this regard, members of the Security Council considered it necessary to once again confirm the previously voiced position of Armenia and suggested that the Azerbaijani authorities immediately start negotiations on a peace agreement.
At the same time, the Security Council drew the attention of the international community to the possibility of military clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh and on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. The statement emphasizes that “the launch of international deterrence mechanisms is necessary to prevent a new military escalation and ethnic cleansing in the region”.
“Block advance of Azerbaijani troops”
Armenian society reacted with doubt to the message of the Telegram channel of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, which announced the decision of the mission command to “push forward reserve forces to block the further advance of the Azerbaijani troops” – even though there were photographs attached to it.
The day before, a message was received by the Russian Defense Ministry that the peacekeepers managed to withdraw the Azerbaijani armed forces from the village of Parukh through negotiations. After that, a refutation was made by the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, which stated that the Azerbaijani troops did not retreat anywhere from the positions occupied on March 24. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia also officially stated that “the penetration of Azerbaijani units into Nagorno-Karabakh in the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent continues”.
The latest report from the Russian side again states that the village of Parukh “is under the control of the Russian peacekeeping contingent”.
Radio “Azatutyun” (Freedom) reports that the day before their film crew was in the village of Khramort (Azerbaijanis call it Pirlyar), which is located near Parukh. The local police forbade Azatutyun employees from filming. But journalists report that the situation here was tense, and the villagers told them that the Azerbaijani armed forces were on a nearby hill.
JAMnews tried to clarify the situation with political scientist from NK Tigran Grigoryan. He confirmed the information about the advancement of a reserve of Russian peacekeepers in the area of the village of Parukh. At the same time, commenting on the contradictory statements of the Russian and Azerbaijani Defense Ministries, the political scientist said that there was no significant withdrawal of troops at the Karaglukh height:
“Karaglukh is a complex area consisting of a series of hills. Where the village of Karaglukh used to be, there are Azerbaijani armed forces. Azerbaijanis are now on one of the hills. On another hill, which can be said to be higher, are the positions of the NK Defense Army”.
Tigran Grigoryan does not rule out that Azerbaijan will resort to new provocations in order to take control of the positions where the defense army forces are located.
According to the political scientist, the Security Council of Armenia, by its statement, is trying to soften the policy of Azerbaijan, which “is trying to present military operations as an alternative to the non-existent peace process”.
Baku does not hide the fact that one of its strategic goals is to impose the desired diplomatic solutions on Armenia through military pressure, the political scientist emphasizes. In his opinion, in order to resolve the issue, “Azerbaijan’s aggressive behavior must be curbed” by both the Russian side and the international community, and negotiations should take place “within the framework of accepted and approved standards”:
“I don’t think the Azerbaijanis have a constructive approach to the so-called peace agreement. The purpose of publishing their demands [a 5-point proposal] was precisely to show that they allegedly wanted to make peace, but Armenia did not want to, so they had no alternative and had to resolve the issue by military means”.
On the Armenia-Azerbaijan Peace Agreement