On April 12, during a regular press conference, the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Maria Zakharova, addressed the tension in Tegh village, noting that the involvement of other actors creates additional destabilization in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict.
Particularly, in response to the journalist’s question whether it could be stated that the cause of the current tension is the activation of Western countries in the South Caucasus, the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that they have talked about it before and shared not assumptions, but analysis. “We have shared our analysis that the involvement of other actors or other organizations that have never been involved in the settlement of this age-old conflict will not have that added value and will not have the effect of achieving peace at all, but will unfortunately either be abused or lead to escalation and destabilization, will distance from achieving the outlined peaceful settlement.”
Zakharova added that there are various manifestations of how additional destabilization is created due to the intervention of external actors who have never had the opportunity to show their constructive point of view.
Zakharova did not specify which Western countries or organization are of concern. But considering that after the war in 2020, the most active western involvement in the conflict in terms of negotiations has been the Pashinyan-Aliev-Michel format, and there has also been the involvement of EU civilian observers, Fact Investigation Platform hereby presents the incidents before and after their involvement in the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh.
Year of 2021
In 2021, the Azerbaijani armed forces invaded the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia twice.
First, on May 12, the Azerbaijani army advanced in the area of Syunik Marz, violating the territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia.
On May 13, the Prosecutor’s Office reported that the Azerbaijanis had advanced about 3-3.5 km deep into the RA territory and were positioned on one of the favorable heights.
On the same day, acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan informed during the extraordinary session of the Security Council that around 250 representatives of the Azerbaijani armed forces are still inside the state borders- in some parts of Syunik and Gegharkunik regions.
Secretary of the Security Council Armen Grigoryan was tasked with taking measures to launch the consultations provided for in Article 2 of the Collective Security Treaty, in particular, to coordinate the positions of the CSTO member states and to take measures to eliminate the threat that has arisen. Later, however, CSTO did not take any active steps to resolve the problem.
On May 14, it became known that in the Vardenis area, Azerbaijani forces advanced about 2 km inside the Armenian state border.
On May 21, it became known that about 30 Azerbaijani soldiers crossed the border and invaded the territory of Khoznavar village of Tegh community of Syunik region.
On May 27, Azerbaijanis captured 6 servicemen of the RA Armed Forces in the border area of Gegharkunik region.
In November, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declared that 40-45 km2 territory came under the control of Azerbaijan.
In May, 2022, Hetq wrote that in May 2021, the adversary had occupied at least 3200 hectares of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Armenia in Vardenis area. The studies published by Hetq in July showed that Azerbaijan controlled strategic heights and an area of 13 square kilometers in the Black Lake region.
Year of 2022
In 2021, a month after the November clashes, the first meeting between the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev took place in Brussels with the mediation of the President of the European Council Charles Michel. After that, this format became continuous, and the leaders met again several times.
At the same time, negotiations with the mediation of the Russian Federation were ongoing.
During the year, the most large-scale attack on the territory of Armenia by Azerbaijan took place on September 13-14. As a result of the attack by the Azerbaijani army, 224 people were killed on the Armenian side, and hundreds were injured. Azerbaijan occupied about 150 square kilometers of the sovereign territory of Armenia.
The Government of the Republic of Armenia formally appealed to the CSTO and its strategic ally Russia to restore territorial integrity. CSTO did not provide any tangible support to Armenia again. Moreover, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Mukhtar Tleuberdi declared on September 14 that the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia is not demarcated, so “it is difficult to talk about any violation of the border.”
On October 7, the meeting of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijani President Aliyev, French President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Charles Michel took place in Prague. The statement issued following the meeting read: “Armenia expressed its agreement to facilitate the EU civilian mission along the border with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan agreed to cooperate with the said mission as far as it is concerned. The mission will start its operation in October, for a maximum of two months. The aim of the mission is to build confidence and, through its reports, contribute to the border commissions.”
Incidents in Nagorno Karabakh
After the 44-day war, a Russian peacekeeping contingent was deployed in Nagorno Karabakh on the basis of a tripartite declaration. Despite the presence of Russian peacekeepers, many instances of ceasefire violations were recorded that were accompanied by territorial invasions by Azerbaijan and human losses on both sides, particularly murders of NKR civilians. Hence, in on December 11, 2020, Azerbaijanis occupied the Hin Tagher and Khtsaberd settlements of Hadrut region.
Another tension was recorded in Artsakh on August 1, resulting in the death of two soldiers of the Armed Forces. Through Russian peacekeepers, Baku demanded to alter the route connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. On August 25, Aghavno, Berdzor and Sus settlements came under the control of Azerbaijan. The route to Stepanakert was altered.
Since December 12, 2022, individuals affiliated with the government of Azerbaijan, posing as “eco-activists,” have been keeping the Goris-Stepanakert road blocked, as a result of which the population of Artsakh has been under siege.
Thus, although Maria Zakharova claims that the situation in the context of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict became destabilized after the involvement of “other actors,” the clashes that took place after the 44-day war, the territorial and human losses in both Republics of Artsakh and Armenia come to prove that there were many instances of destabilization of the situation before that. The official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia is manipulating.