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US think tank: Russia impedes process of peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan

27 July 2023 12:22 (UTC+04:00)
US think tank: Russia impedes process of peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Russia continues to find ways to remind Armenia and Azerbaijan that Moscow’s military and diplomatic presence in the South Caucasus is necessary, the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says, Azernews reports.

"Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov met in Moscow for bilateral and trilateral negotiations regarding Nagorno-Karabakh on July 25. Lavrov walked a careful balance between mediator and participant during the trilateral negotiations, signaling Russia’s support for various Armenian and Azerbaijani positions while continuing to delay any real discussion of a long-term, effective peace agreement. A Kremlin-affiliated Russian mil blogger highlighted that an assistant was caught on a live microphone, likely intentionally, telling Lavrov not to refer to 'Nagorno Karabakh' as the “former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast” because the Azerbaijanis would not appreciate it. The mil blogger noted that this was a simple, yet effective manipulation tactic that signaled to Armenia Russia’s desire to please Azerbaijan.

"The Russian government may have intended for the Russia-Armenia-Azerbaijan trilateral meeting to reduce possible Iranian efforts to supplant Russian influence with Armenia by providing Shahid drones to Yerevan. Israel-based i24News claimed on July 16 that Armenia has used Iranian Shahed drones in several recent clashes with Azerbaijan. The American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project previously assessed that Iran may expand its military support to Armenia in response to Russian “negligence” towards the Caucasus. The trilateral meeting may have been an attempt to reassert Russia’s influence over Armenia vis-à-vis Iran, influence that has become particularly fragile following Russia‘s redeployment of elements of its “peacekeeping force” from Karabakh to Ukraine in March 2023," ISW said.


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