Russian ambassador to Armenia: Russia, like no one else is interested in peace and stability in the South Caucasus

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YEREVAN, September 11. /ARKA/. Speaking in the Minority Opinion program on Novosti Armenia news agency’s YouTube channel on September 10, Russian Ambassador to Armenia Sergey Kopyrkin said no country is interested in peace and stability in the South Caucasus as much as Russia.

“Russia, along with other countries of the region, like no one else is interested in peace and stability in the region because we are present here – our military base, our border guards are here. That is, this is not something theoretical; for Russia the South Caucasus is not an object of some geopolitical games, but part of the fate of our citizens including. Therefore, here we are a very interested player in this regard,” he said, in response to a question about the role of Russia in establishing a truce during the April 2016 four-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh and the aggravation of the situation on Armenian-Azerbaijani border in July this year.

The ambassador noted that Russia’s all actions are based on a common approach.

“We believe that this conflict cannot be resolved by force. Negotiations are needed, peace is needed, but it goes without saying that the parties themselves must make decisions and come to an agreement. Russia, for its part, is doing everything necessary to create conditions for such a development of the situation,” Kopyrkin said.

The full interview of the Russian Ambassador to Armenia Sergey Kopyrkin can be viewed on the YouTube channel of the Novosti-Armenia agency.

About escalation of tension on Armenian-Azerbaijani border

On July 12 the Armenian military thwarted a pre-dawn Azerbaijani raid on one of its border posts in the northern Tavush province. At least 12 Azerbaijani soldiers, including a general, and five Armenian servicemen were killed in the fierce fighting before it stopped on July 16.

On July 12-16 Azerbaijani armed forces used artillery, drones and other weapons to fire at Armenian military outposts, several villages and the city of Berd on the northeastern section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border in the Tavush region.

Armenian troops suppressed the activity of the enemy, destroying 13 unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as disabling a tank and artillery batteries. Civilian infrastructures and houses were damaged. Azerbaijan officially confirmed the death of 12 soldiers, the Armenian side reported the deaths of at least 10 more Azerbaijani commandos. A comparative calm has been observed on the border since July 17, but information about shelling is received almost daily.

About the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict erupted into armed clashes after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s as the predominantly Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan sought to secede from Azerbaijan and declared its independence backed by a successful referendum.

On May 12, 1994, the Bishkek cease-fire agreement put an end to the military operations. A truce was brokered by Russia in 1994, although no permanent peace agreement has been signed. Since then, Nagorno-Karabakh and several adjacent regions have been under the control of Armenian forces of Nagorno-Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh is the longest-running post-Soviet era conflict and has continued to simmer despite the relative peace of the past two decades, with snipers causing tens of deaths a year.

In the early hours of April 2, 2016 Azerbaijan, in gross violation of the agreements launched a large-scale offensive along the entire Line of Contact between the armed forces of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and Azerbaijan, using heavy weaponry, artillery and combat aircraft. Only thanks to the decisive actions of the Defense Army, which gave a fitting rebuff, on April 5, Azerbaijan was forced to ask, as in 1994, through the mediation of the Russian Federation for the cessation of the hostilities. It has been generally maintained, despite the recurrent violations by the Azerbaijani side.

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