Azerbaijani private killed amid mounting tension and diplomacy traffic intensifies around Karabakh
By Sabina Mammadli
Social media users have expressed concern over the possibility of another war in the region following the heightened tension inside the separatist-controlled part of Karabakh and on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border.
Over the recent days, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry has repeatedly reported on shootings in Karabakh by the Armenian separatists under the temporary control of the Russian peacekeepers and on response measures taken by the Azerbaijani army units in the area.
On August 3, a private of the Azerbaijani army was killed in a truce violation by the Armenian troops in Karabakh, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said.
In a similar vein, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed the “violations of the ceasefire regime three times by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces in the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, as a result of which a soldier of the armed formations of Nagorno-Karabakh was injured”.
However, Azerbaijan has flatly denied the allegations.
The answer to what caused the latest aggravation in the region remains unclear; however, local media linked the tension to the construction of an alternative communication road between Karabakh Armenians and the Republic of Armenia and the alleged claims that official Baku urged ethnic Armenians to use the new road in days to come.
Azerbaijan, through Russian peacekeepers, demanded that Armenia organized the movement of transport from Karabakh to Armenia along the new route shortly,” the report says with reference to a meeting of the Karabakh separatists.
“Azerbaijan is completing the construction of an alternative road that will be used by Armenians to communicate with Armenia. Therefore, the Armenians must finally liberate the city of Lacin and the village of Zabux, stop driving along the Lacin corridor and use the new route,” the report says, adding that “Yerevan failed to get support in Moscow and if Armenians continue to delay the implementation of the agreements, the situation in Karabakh may seriously escalate”.
Meanwhile, contacts at various levels among Armenian and Azerbaijani officials with Russian and western officials are continuing to hammer out a peace deal between Baku and Yerevan as stipulated by November 10, 2020, and other documents.
As Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated earlier, Russia is making considerable efforts to the drafting of the Azerbaijani-Armenia peace agreement. In a similar move, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu called his Azerbaijani counterpart Zakir Hasanov to discuss the current situation in Karabakh.
On the same day, President Vladimir Putin and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan discussed the implementation of the agreements on Karabakh.
“Some practical aspects of the implementation of the trilateral agreements between the leaders of Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh dated November 10, 2020, January 11, and November 26, 2021, were discussed,” the message said.
It was also noted that Putin and Pashinyan agreed to continue contact at various levels.
Commenting on the heightened tension, the secretary of the parliamentary faction Armenia, former Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan stated that as long as the strategic situation is fragile, the risk of war is always there.
The former minister noted that the war could happen at any moment. Further, he called the normalization policy fake, further pushing the war agenda.
As for the international response, the situation has received growing concern from official parties.
Thus, EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia Toivo Klaar stated that the EU is committed to deepening its involvement in the peace process.
“I am concerned about reports of growing tensions in the Armenian-Azerbaijani context in recent days. The EU is committed to deepening its involvement in the peace process; we are participating in it on several levels,” Klaar wrote on Twitter.
He emphasized the importance to achieve de-escalation and seize the historic opportunity to turn the page on decades of strife.
Sabina Mammadli is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @SabinaMmdl
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