The tension between the two countries intensifies with armed clashes between soldiers during demarcation work
Tensions are intensifying between Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers, including shootings with the occasional dead on both sides, on the border between the two countries, but beyond Nagorno Karabakh. So Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan plans to request Russia to protect its troops by deploying forces along the entire border line with Azerbaijan.
Pashinián launched such a proposal during a meeting of his Government held this Thursday in Yerevan, the country’s capital. After a few days of relative calm, this week shooting at the border resumed. According to Baku, two Azerbaijani soldiers were injured while Yerevan reports three dead. Both parties accuse each other of violating the ceasefire reached in November.
“In view of the serious situation, I think it makes sense to consider the issue of the deployment of Russian border guards on the border with Azerbaijan,” Pashinian told his ministers. In his words, such a measure “would allow the demarcation and delimitation of the border to be carried out without the risk of armed confrontations.”
The Kremlin is limited to announcing that it will work to restore the ceasefire signed last November
However, the Kremlin has refused to comment on the request of the head of the Armenian government. Asked this Thursday about it, the spokesman for the Russian Presidency, Dmitri Peskov, limited himself to pointing out that Russia “continues to help to restore the ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan.” “Work continues to ensure the full implementation of the agreements signed,” he added.
Peskov was referring to the ceasefire agreement signed between Yerevan and Baku, mediated by Moscow, on November 9, 2020, after six weeks of a war that caused more than 6,500 deaths and ended with the victory of Azerbaijan, something that the Armenians have not digested yet. The document established a new delimitation of the border between the two countries and in Nagorno Karabakh a Russian peacekeeping force made up of about 2,000 troops was deployed.
These troops also have the mission of controlling the Lachín corridor, a road that connects Nagorno Karabakh with Armenia, but, nevertheless, they are not in the places that have lately been the scene of armed confrontations between Azerbaijani and Armenian units, especially in the surrounding area. from Nakhichevan, an Azerbaijani enclave with no direct connection by land with the rest of the country.
In November it was also agreed that talks would begin for a lasting peace and the reestablishment of diplomatic relations. Russian President Vladimir Putin met Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Moscow in January with the intention of accelerating rapprochement, but failed to even shake hands.
Things got worse in mid-May, when Pashinyan invoked the action of the Organization of the Collective Security Pact (ODKB in its acronym in Russian), the defensive structure of former Soviet republics to which Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Russia belong. Tajikistan. The reason for such an appeal was due, according to the Armenian prime minister, to the fact that Azerbaijani forces penetrated into territory belonging to Armenia.
Azerbaijan justified such an incursion by the need to initiate border delimitation work in the Siunik region, a narrow strip of territory located between Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijani enclave of Nakhichevan. The border layout was altered there after the Armenian defeat. However, the Government of Yerevan denounced that it is intended to delimit the border unilaterally and without having yet reestablished diplomatic relations.
Pashinián was in Moscow at the beginning of July to complain to Putin and, on the 20th, it was Aliyev who also did it and asked him to summon Armenia to conclude a peace treaty as soon as possible with the aim of thinking about the economy and developing the region, especially through the urgent creation of a transport network. But Pashinyan distrusts Azerbaijan, believes that its leaders “plan to unleash new clashes in Nagorno Karabakh and on the border with Armenia.”
Zelensky replaces the leadership of the Army and Intelligence services
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski has carried out a series of reforms at the top of the Army and the Intelligence services to put several of his allies at the head of both institutions. In several decrees published on Thursday, he replaced the chief of operations for eastern Ukraine, the chief of the Air Force and the chief of the General Staff. Shortly before, the military commander-in-chief, Ruslan Jomchak, had been fired and appointed first deputy secretary of the National Security Council.
Among the reasons given by the Presidency is the increase in effectiveness and cooperation between the different government agencies. These replacements were preceded in mid-July by the resignation of Arsen Avakov, the Interior Minister, who has been replaced by Denis Monastirski.
Ukrainian troops have been fighting pro-Russian separatist militias in the east of the country since 2014. According to UN data, more than 13,000 people have died in the conflict.