Region

South Caucasus

Stories under this heading cover the South Caucasus – a region encompassing Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as the unrecognised entities of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh.

For those interested specifically in Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and events and developments in and around Nagorno-Karabakh following the 2020 44-day war, check out our sister page, KarabakhSpace.eu.

Commentary: War returns to the Caucasus for one day leaving hundreds of casualties, but the prospects for peace remain
War returned to the Caucasus for one day this week, claiming hundreds of lives, displacing more people, and denting further the prospects for peace. Every time blood is spilt, regardless of any justification, the wounds of the past open again, and this time is no exception.  Whilst Baku appears to have achieved its objective of frustrating the decades-long Armenian political project in Karabakh, the situation on the ground remains fluid. Tens of thousands of civilians are now caught in the epicentre of a difficult and painful political transition that will see Nagorno-Karabakh re-integrated back into Azerbaijan. How this process will work out is not clear at all, and every step is fraught with risks. So far Baku has shown its stick. Now it needs to show its carrot. Following this week’s events, some said that the peace process is dead. This needs not be the case. In fact in their speeches in the last hours both President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan reiterated their commitment to the peace agenda. In the coming weeks and months Armenia and Azerbaijan need to remain focused on the one objective of signing a peace agreement. Without it the chance of more deadly violence in future will be much higher. The international community too must keep this as its top agenda in the region. The journey has not become easier in the last days, but the road remains open. The journey now needs to be finished.
dennis2020 Thu, 09/21/2023 - 14:38 Opinion: Baku was left no other option but the military one

Since the closure of the Lachin road by Azerbaijan in response to an armed accident on 15 June 15 this year, tensions around the Armenian-populated area in Karabakh currently controlled by the Russian peacekeeping forces, have been brimming. The Armenian side launched a campaign of blaming Azerbaijan in enforcing a “blockade” of the region and even in committing “genocide” of the Karabakh Armenians.

dennis2020 Thu, 09/21/2023 - 12:32

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Commentary: War returns to the Caucasus for one day leaving hundreds of casualties, but the prospects for peace remain
War returned to the Caucasus for one day this week, claiming hundreds of lives, displacing more people, and denting further the prospects for peace. Every time blood is spilt, regardless of any justification, the wounds of the past open again, and this time is no exception.  Whilst Baku appears to have achieved its objective of frustrating the decades-long Armenian political project in Karabakh, the situation on the ground remains fluid. Tens of thousands of civilians are now caught in the epicentre of a difficult and painful political transition that will see Nagorno-Karabakh re-integrated back into Azerbaijan. How this process will work out is not clear at all, and every step is fraught with risks. So far Baku has shown its stick. Now it needs to show its carrot. Following this week’s events, some said that the peace process is dead. This needs not be the case. In fact in their speeches in the last hours both President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan reiterated their commitment to the peace agenda. In the coming weeks and months Armenia and Azerbaijan need to remain focused on the one objective of signing a peace agreement. Without it the chance of more deadly violence in future will be much higher. The international community too must keep this as its top agenda in the region. The journey has not become easier in the last days, but the road remains open. The journey now needs to be finished.
dennis2020 Thu, 09/21/2023 - 14:38
Opinion: Baku was left no other option but the military one

Since the closure of the Lachin road by Azerbaijan in response to an armed accident on 15 June 15 this year, tensions around the Armenian-populated area in Karabakh currently controlled by the Russian peacekeeping forces, have been brimming. The Armenian side launched a campaign of blaming Azerbaijan in enforcing a “blockade” of the region and even in committing “genocide” of the Karabakh Armenians.

dennis2020 Thu, 09/21/2023 - 12:32
Baku and Stepanakert hold historic talks on the future of Karabakh and its Armenian community
Talks between representatives of Baku and Stepanakert on the future of Karabakh and its Armenian community were held on Thursday, 21 September in the town of Yevlakh. Representatives of the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh arrived in the Azerbaijani town of Yavlakh for discussions with Baku officials on the future of the territory and its Armenian population. According to Armenpress news agency the Armenian group is led by Davit Melkumyan, head of the "Artsakh Democratic Party" faction in the parliament of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic parliament, and Sergey Martirosyan, deputy secretary of the Security Council.  The group travelled by car in a convoy escorted by Azerbaijani police and Russian forces. For the Baku side, the talks will be led by Ramin Mammadov, a member of parliament who earlier this year was designated by the Azerbaijan government as the lead person for contacts with the Karabakh Armenians.
dennis2020 Thu, 09/21/2023 - 08:19
Hundreds of dead and wounded as a result of twenty-four hours of fighting in Karabakh

The 24-hour Azerbaijani military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh has left hundreds of dead and wounded. Whilst most of the casualties are military personnel there are also some dead and wounded amongst civilians.

Sources close to the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh say that 200 people have been killed and four hundred injured during the twenty-four-hour Azerbaijani military operation to regain control of the territory.

dennis2020 Thu, 09/21/2023 - 07:38
Azerbaijan says it has completed its military operation in Karabakh
Azerbaijan said that it has achieved the objectives for its military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh and that it was suspending all measures. In a statement, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence said "that taking into account the appeal of representatives of the Armenian residents of Karabakh received through the Russian peacekeeping contingent, an agreement was reached to suspend local anti-terrorist measures on September 20, 2023 at 13:00 on the following conditions: 1. The formations of the armed forces of Armenia and illegal Armenian armed formations  located in the Karabakh Region of the Republic of Azerbaijan lay down their arms, leave combat positions and military posts and completely disarm. Units of the Armenian armed forces are leaving the territory of Azerbaijan, illegal Armenian armed formations are being disbanded. 2. At the same time, all weapons and heavy equipment are surrendered. 3. The implementation of the above processes is ensured in coordination with the Russian peacekeeping contingent." The agreement has also been confirmed by sources close to the Armenian community of Karabakh. It has been further agreed that representatives of Baku and Stepanakert will meet tomorrow Thursday (21 September). The Azerbaijani military operation lasted exactly twenty four hours, during which dozens of casualties are reported on both sides.
dennis2020 Wed, 09/20/2023 - 11:54
Azerbaijani forces push into Nagorno-Karabakh despite international criticism
Azerbaijan on Wednesday (20 September) continued its push into the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh despite international pressure to cease all hostilities. Throughout the night explosions could be heard across the territory as Azerbaijani artillery continued neutralising military objectives of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which was set up by Armenians in the territory thirty years ago when they seceded from Azerbaijan. The world community still recognises Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. Unconfirmed reports say that yesterday, only hours after the start of the operation, Azerbaijan managed to break through the line of contact around Martuni and Askeran, to the north and east of the main administrative town of the territory, Stepanakert. Since the Azerbaijani forces already hold the heights over Stepanakert from the south side, due to their control of the town of Shusha, this may suggest Azerbaijani forces are trying to encircle Stepanakert. There has been widespread condemnation of the Azerbaijani military offensive by the international community, with all countries, except Turkey, calling on Azerbaijan to end hostilities immediately. The UN Security Council is expected to meet tomorrow (Thursday, 21 September) in the afternoon New York time. It is not clear if a binding UN resolution can emerge, since the position of Russia and China remains ambiguous. It appears Azerbaijan is trying to achieve as many of its objectives as possible before that. In a conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev said that the main objective of the operation was to disarm the illegal armed formations of the Armenian separatists. Azerbaijani spokespersons have repeatedly said that Azerbaijan is not seeking to expel the Armenian community from the territory and wants to see them properly integrated in Azerbaijani society. But the concern of the international community is that in the current atmosphere it is more likely that the Armenians will leave as the Azerbaijanis advance. Such scenario would mean that everyone has lost – the next hours will say how it is likely to go.
dennis2020 Wed, 09/20/2023 - 08:59
UN Security Council to meet Thursday to discuss Karabakh

The United Nations Security Council will meet on Thursday afternoon (21 September) to discuss the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.

France called for the meeting of the Council and it is understood that other Western countries have backed the call. It follows the launch by Azerbaijan of a military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, where a majority Armenian-speaking population resides. Karabakh is considered part of Azerbaijan and Baku says the military operation is an internal matter.

dennis2020 Tue, 09/19/2023 - 20:17
EU reacts to military escalation in Karabakh

The European Union has reacted to the military escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh following the launch of what Azerbaijan calls an "anti terrorist operation". In a statement, the EU called for an immediate end to hostilities and a return to negotiations and warned that the "military escalation should not be used as a pretext to force the exodus of the local population."

dennis2020 Tue, 09/19/2023 - 15:28
Azerbaijan launches large-scale military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh (Updated)
Azerbaijan' armed forces on Tuesday (19 September) around 1300 local time, launched a large-scale military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azerbaijani forces hit military targets with artillery and drones. There are now unconfirmed reports of movement of ground forces. The Azerbaijani government says it is responding to provocations, including an incident last night when several Azerbaijanis were killed as a result of a recently planted landmine. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan convened a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss developments. In a statement, he accused Azerbaijan of trying to embroil Armenia in a large-scale conflict, and said that Azerbaijan was pursuing in Karabakh a policy of ethnic cleaning. A statement issued by the Azerbaijani foreign ministry stated that "on September 19, the Armenian armed forces in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan resorted to a series of large-scale military provocations and terrorist attacks." The Armenian government in a statement once more categorically denied that its armed forces were station in Nagorno-Karabakh. There have been no reports of incidents on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Behind the scenes there are intensive diplomatic efforts to try to stop the violence from escalating.
dennis2020 Tue, 09/19/2023 - 13:38