As peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan continue, Baku has opened a checkpoint on the Lachin corridor, the sole road connecting Armenia to the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, raising fears of a new surge in fighting. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts discuss the risks.
Azerbaijan’s blockade of Lachin corridor continued to fuel tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) as sides exchanged fire across territory.
Tensions ran high amid Baku’s restrictions along Lachin corridor. Russian Foreign Ministry 14 June urged Azerbaijan to “completely unblock” Lachin corridor connecting NK to Armenia and “not to hold Karabakh’s population hostage”. Azerbaijan 15 June reported injury of solider at its border checkpoint on Lachin road after shots were allegedly fired from Armenian territory; Armenia same day reported injury of its soldier in same incident, alleging Azerbaijanis sought to advance into Armenian territory to plant flag. Following incident, Azerbaijan closed all traffic on Lachin road; de facto NK authorities 16 June accused Azerbaijan of fully shutting corridor for food and medical supplies, including for “all humanitarian transport”, while International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) same day confirmed inability to pass with medical patients. EU 23 June said “near total blockage” of corridor “directly threatens the livelihoods of the local population”. Azerbaijan 25 June restored passage through Lachin checkpoint, allowing ICRC to go into Armenia with 31 patients. Reopening came days ahead of scheduled talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Washington. Risk of military escalation remains elevated notwithstanding dialogue (see Armenia and Azerbaijan).
Azerbaijani and de facto armed forces exchanged fire. Azerbaijan reported several clashes in NK during June, including in Fuzuli, Agdam, Shusha and Khojaly regions, and accused “illegal Armenian armed detachments” (military forces reporting to de facto NK authorities) of seeking to construct fortifications. De facto NK authorities 22 June reported an injury from clashes in Martakert region and rejected accusations of building fortifications. Azerbaijan 27 June accused de facto NK authorities of “wounding” one soldier; Armenia and de facto NK authorities next day returned accusation, alleging Baku’s forces killed four de facto NK soldiers near Martakert region. De facto NK parliament same day called on Armenia to cease Washington dialogue, but negotiations continued.
The fate of the Karabakh Armenians is a core issue for ending the hostility between the two countries [Armenia and Azerbaijan]. No one has laid out what’s the best way.
With the current crisis in Ukraine, it is not easy for those in the West to support the Russian presence in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are holding peace talks in Washington DC. It’s a critical moment for Nagorno-Karabakh
The EU is sending a mission to monitor the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2023, Crisis Group explains what else the EU and its member states can do to avert another war and revitalise peace talks.
The European Union is sending monitors to Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan, so as to lessen the danger of renewed fighting between the two countries over Nagorno-Karabakh and other issues. Brussels must give the mission the means and mandate it will need to succeed.
This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Elissa Jobson speak with Olesya Vartanyan and Zaur Shiriyev, Crisis Group’s South Caucasus experts, about where things stand between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the deadly border clashes in September and whether a peace agreement might be within reach.
A fragile truce concluded on 14 September halted fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia that left hundreds of soldiers dead. In this Q&A, Crisis Group explains what occurred and what needs to happen now to restart the peace process between the two foes.
Several soldiers have been killed in clashes between Azerbaijani troops and ethnic Armenian forces answering to the de facto authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh, raising fears of escalation. Crisis Group experts Olesya Vartanyan, Zaur Shiriyev and Anita Mihaeljana explain what can be done to safeguard the ceasefire.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has raised fears of renewed fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh but also hopes of mediation opportunities. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2022 – Spring Update, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to facilitate diplomatic efforts, preserve Moscow’s role in conflict resolution and make clear that they will support any agreed steps toward an eventual settlement.
Fresh clashes in and around Nagorno-Karabakh imperil the November 2020 ceasefire monitored by Russian peacekeepers. Even as they square off over Ukraine, Russia, Western powers and Turkey should endeavour to reach a quiet agreement on how to avert escalation in the South Caucasus.
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