The war in Karabakh is over. The presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, Vladimir Putin, Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan, signed a corresponding statement.
It reads as follows:
“1. Declares a complete cease-fire and all military operations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone from 00:00 Moscow time on November 10th 2020. The Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, hereinafter referred to as the Parties, stop at their positions.
2. The Aghdam region and territories held by the Armenian Side in the Gazakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall be returned to the Azerbaijani Side before November 20th 2020.
3. Along the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin Corridor, a peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation consisting of 1,960 soldiers with small arms, 90 armored personnel carriers, and 380 vehicles and special equipment is being deployed.
4. The peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation is being deployed in parallel with the withdrawal of the Armenian Armed Forces. The term of stay of the Russian Federation peacekeeping contingent is 5 years with automatic extension for the next 5-year periods, if none of the Parties declares their intention to terminate the application of this provision 6 months before the expiration of the term.
5. In order to increase the effectiveness of monitoring the implementation of agreements by the Parties to the conflict, a peacekeeping center for monitoring the ceasefire is being deployed.
6. The Republic of Armenia returns the Kalbajar region to the Republic of Azerbaijan before November 15th 2020, and the Lachin region before December 1st 2020, while retaining the Lachin Corridor (5 km wide), which will provide a link between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia and will not affect the city of Shusha.
By agreement of the Parties, in the next three years, a plan will be defined for the construction of a new route along the Lachin Corridor, providing a link between Stepanakert and Armenia, with the subsequent relocation of the Russian peacekeeping contingent to protect this route. The Republic of Azerbaijan guarantees the safety of movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo in both directions along the Lachin Corridor.
7. Internally displaced persons and refugees return to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas under the control of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
8. Prisoners of war and other detained persons and bodies of the dead are exchanged.
9. All economic and transport links in the region will be unblocked. The Republic of Armenia provides transport links between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in order to organise the unhindered movement of citizens, vehicles and goods in both directions. The border service of the Federal Security Service of Russia controls transport traffic.
By agreement of the Parties, the construction of new transport communications linking the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic with the western regions of Azerbaijan will be ensured.”
After the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a declaration to end the war, it became clear that Pashinyan‘s strategy of squeezing Russia out of the region did not work. Russia remains. Moreover, it is strengthening its position in the region by introducing peacekeepers. And the fate of Pashinyan himself raises questions – according to some reports, he fled Armenia on a Russian military plane and is currently in Sochi. Well, Sochi, of course, is better than Rostov.
Now the meaning of the provocation regarding the downed Russian helicopter over the territory of Armenia becomes clear.
Recall that at about 17:30 Moscow time, in the area of the Armenian settlement of Yeraskh, while escorting a convoy of the 102nd Russian military base, A Mi-24 helicopter of the Russian army was shot at and downed from the territory of Azerbaijan. According to the press service of the Russian Defence Ministry, two crew members were killed, and one was evacuated to a home airfield with moderate injuries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan acknowledged its responsibility for the incident, but stressed that it was accidental. According to the Ministry, the helicopter was flying in close proximity to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, not far from the contact line between the Azerbaijani Armed Forces and the Nagorno-Karabakh Defence Army. Since Russian aircraft had never been observed in this area before, the helicopter was mistaken for an Armenian one and fired from a portable anti-aircraft missile system.
What happened immediately caused a storm of emotions. Some of the most hotheads demanded almost a Russian landing on Baku or, at least, in retaliation, to erase all military facilities of Azerbaijan with “Kalibrs”. Thinking little about the obvious illogicality of what happened.
However, now, after the leaders of the three countries signed a joint statement, additional information has appeared that explains literally everything.
First, Prime Minister Pashinyan posted a message on his Facebook page about the signing of an agreement with Azerbaijan in Moscow to end the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Later, on the TASS news feed there was “breaking news” about the agreement reached between Yerevan and Baku on the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh, which was confirmed by the Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov.
RUSSTRAT wrote about the uniqueness of such a scenario in Karabakh two weeks ago.
The strategic goal of the war in Karabakh for Azerbaijan was to ensure the direct logistical isolation of the NKR from the territory of Armenia. And inflicting a military defeat on the enemy on such a scale that its ruling circles can no longer ignore the real reality. Since it was their inadequate position that was the main obstacle to finding a compromise by diplomatic methods.
So what happened to the Russian helicopter? Provocation. Whose exactly – we may never know for sure. However, the fact of its implementation directly indicates that the plan was conceived and implemented by forces that tried to disrupt such a development of events crudely, on emotions. If the Kremlin had listened to these “righteous ardent do-gooders”, it would have been possible to disrupt the achievement of peace in the region.
But the Russian leadership did not listen to them, because it is well aware of the complexity of the problem and the long-term global consequences of certain steps. RUSSTRAT also wrote about this just the day before, on November 9th:
“Russia cannot send troops to Karabakh or allow it to be defeated. The path through the UN is closed, the peacekeepers will only be introduced together with Turkey. Therefore, everything will be resolved suddenly and unconventionally, although Karabakh is not a second Crimea for Russia in terms of its geopolitical significance.”
Vladimir Putin managed to find and implement such a non-standard move. In a desperate attempt to prevent this, the opponents of peace in the Caucasus staged this bloody provocation. Well, Russia ended this war well. The residents of Armenia will definitely not go under the US’ boot now. They understood everything. Armenia will keep itself as an outpost of Russia in the Caucasus. Otherwise, there will be no Armenia. That’s what needed to be proved.
P.S. When the material was already submitted for publication, it became known that Russian peacekeepers were already moving to Karabakh. According to a source, the Russian peacekeeping contingent will consist of 1960 military personnel, 90 armored personnel carriers and 380 pieces of equipment. The basis of the contingent will be units of the 15th separate motorised rifle brigade, which will be transferred by Il-76 aircraft from the Ulyanovsk airfield.
The Russian military will be deployed along the line of operations in Karabakh and along the Lachin Corridor, which connects Armenia with the capital of Karabakh, Stepanakert. The peacekeepers will remain in Karabakh for 5 years with automatic extension for the next five years, if Baku and Yerevan do not object.
RUSSTRAT Institute of International Political and Economic Strategies
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