Can Russian peacekeepers be drawn into the thick of the conflict: What is the danger of escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh

Our peacekeepers do not have a mandate to interfere in these hostilities

Our peacekeepers do not have a mandate to interfere in these hostilities


Fighting has resumed in Karabakh. At one o’clock on Tuesday, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense announced that they were beginning “anti-terrorist measures of a local nature” in the Karabakh region of the country.

The main goal: disarmament and withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan (according to the constitution of Azerbaijan, Karabakh is its territory). The Armenian Foreign Ministry called this operation “an aggression against the people of Karabakh.”

As the Azerbaijani authorities stated, they do not strike residential areas, but only disable the positions of the Armenian Armed Forces, their firing points, and do this with high-altitude weapons. In turn, the Karabakh Ministry of Defense stated that Azerbaijan is carrying out strikes along the entire line of contact: explosions were reported in Stepanakert and other cities in the region. It is already known that at least two civilians were killed and several wounded.

Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda interviewed political scientists and Caucasus experts to understand what is really happening in the region now:

Stanislav Tarasov, expert on the Middle East and Caucasus:

The transition to such a broad operation, which Azerbaijan has now announced, is anomalous. This is fraught with escalation into another Karabakh war. And now the further course of events will depend on how Armenia behaves, how external players – Russia, the West, Turkey and Iran – will react to this. The situation is very difficult and tense.

It is important what decision Russia makes. We have the resources to prevent negative developments – material, military, political. Our peacekeepers may find themselves hostages of this situation in a very dangerous zone.

Sergey Markov, director of the Institute for Political Research:

Now the third Karabakh war has begun there. Azerbaijan is much stronger than Armenia, it will defeat it with ease. The leader of Armenia Pashinyan is actually the initiator of this war; he wants, with the help of Armenia’s defeat in the third Karabakh war, to blame Russia for this and completely tear Armenia away from Russia, take it to France and the United States. A year ago, Pashinyan went to see Macron in Paris and agreed with him on a plan, which he is now implementing.

Russia is forced to take a passive position. There are Russian peacekeepers there, but Azerbaijan will do everything not to touch them. And our peacekeepers do not have a mandate to interfere in these hostilities.

Alexey Mukhin, director of the Center for Political Information:

Over the past few months, the Armenian leadership, on the one hand, has bullied the Russian side in every possible way, organized exercises with the United States, did not have a representative in the CSTO, traveled to the European Union, Brussels, the United States… In general, they made it clear in every possible way that Russia is not involved here how. Taken together, the actions of the Armenian authorities led to a situation where people who wanted to fight now began to fight.

For some reason, Russian peacekeepers are being squeezed onto the first line. Perhaps with the expectation that some kind of pressure, even physical influence, will be put on them. And this will drag Russia into a conflict situation. I really hope that the Azerbaijani side will have enough wisdom not to commit rash acts.

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