The war is over: Armenia accepts heavy concessions, Russia sends peacekeepers
MOSCOW, (BM) – The leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement ending the war in Nagorno-Karabakh a month after its new outbreak, which returned to Baku much of the remaining Armenian-controlled territories since 1994, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Dnevnik.bg.
This is not the final solution to the conflict, which claimed 30,000 lives at the end of the last century and an unknown number in the last month. However, with it, Armenia, which has suffered heavy losses from Azerbaijan in recent weeks, is making radical concessions that have also led to a storming of parliament and protests in Yerevan.
“I signed statements with the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan to end the Karabakh war as of 01:00 [23:00 EET time]. The text of the already published statement is inexpressibly painful for me personally and for our people. this decision is the result of an in-depth analysis of the military situation and the assessment of people who are familiar with it in the best possible way,” Pashinyan said. “This is not a victory, but it is not a defeat if we do not admit ourselves as losers. We will never admit that we lost,” the prime minister wrote on Facebook.
“What will you say now, Pashinyan? Karabakh is ours!” said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. As a result of the agreement, which was also confirmed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Moscow has already sent nearly 2,000 peacekeepers and 470 units of military equipment to Nagorno-Karabakh.
What else does the agreement include?
- Armenia and Azerbaijan stop fighting in the positions occupied in the last month.
- The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, ruled by ethnic Armenians and unrecognized by no one, will not cease to exist, but it is not specified with what legitimacy. According to Aliyev, Baku offered the possibility of autonomy, but the other side insisted on independence.
- The territories conquered by Azerbaijan this year will no longer enter the territory of the NKR. Among them is the strategically and symbolically important in historical and cultural terms for both countries city Shushi / Shusha (in Armenian and Azeri), captured a few days ago. Stepanakert remains under Armenian control and will be connected to Armenia through the Lachin Corridor, leading from Nagorno-Karabakh, through Azerbaijan to Armenian territory.
- Armenia liberates and returns to Azerbaijan all territories that are not part of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region during the Soviet era, conquered in the 90s of the last century. Armenian forces controlled vast areas around the enclave, and Azerbaijan considered one-fifth of its territory occupied.
- Russian forces (1960 troops, 90 armored personnel carriers and 380 units of vehicles and special equipment) are sent to the line of contact and along the corridor between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia (much of which was captured by Azerbaijan), connecting Armenia and Stepanakert. They remain in Nagorno-Karabakh for five years. The deadline will be extended automatically if Baku and Yerevan “do not mind”, said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
- However, Turkey will also take part in the peacekeeping effort. The Peacekeeping Center will include teams from Ankara as Azerbaijan’s main ally. Putin said last week that he wanted Turkey to be part of the peace process without going into details.
- Azerbaijani refugees will be able to return to Nagorno-Karabakh after the Azerbaijani minority left the territory in the 1990s. The process will involve the UN.
The news was met with sharp discontent in Armenia. Residents of Yerevan, protesting against the cessation of hostilities in Karabakh, broke into the building of the Armenian government, TASS reported. World agencies showed similar footage from the Armenian parliament. The Speaker of the Armenian Parliament was beaten.
Aggressive protesters break down the doors of the offices in the building. Hundreds of people gathered in Republic Square in central Yerevan, where the government building is located. The police did not use force against the protesters and tried to calm them down.
The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27, active clashes are taking place in the disputed territory. Martial law was introduced in Azerbaijan and Armenia, and mobilization was announced. Both sides reported killed and wounded, including civilians. In Baku, they announced the control of several Karabakh villages and strategic heights. Yerevan also reports about the shelling of the territory of Armenia.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been in conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since February 1988, when the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan SSR.
During the armed conflict in 1992-1994, the Azerbaijani side lost control of Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven areas adjacent to it. Since 1992, negotiations have been conducted within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group on a peaceful settlement of the conflict. The group is led by co-chairs – Russia, USA and France.
In 1994, Azerbaijan, Armenia and the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, through the mediation of Russia, signed the Bishkek Armistice Protocol. At the same time, military operations did not stop there, which periodically renewed. The most significant exacerbation of the conflict was the four-day war of 2016. Then hundreds of soldiers on both sides became victims.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a meeting with the President of Azerbaijan last year, called for a rhetoric that would go against the fundamental principles endorsed by both sides and enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act when resolving the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh. At the same time, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry admitted that much more needs to be done to achieve a long-term political settlement.
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