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Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

CrisisWatch Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Unchanged Situation

Hostilities intensified in conflict zone, while Russian-mediated talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan on regional transportation links resumed. Exchanges of fire between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces increased in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK), mainly near Shusha town controlled by Azerbaijani forces. Notably, Azerbaijani troops 11 Aug launched unprecedented combat drone attack against positions of local “Nagorno-Karabakhi military troops” since Autumn 2020 war, which prompted Russian peacekeepers to record ceasefire violation for first time in their daily public reports. Russian peacekeepers 20 Aug started regular patrols in three areas in NK, including two along south of front line close to Shusha. De facto NK defence ministry 28 Aug reported one of its soldiers wounded in clashes with Azerbaijani soldiers near Tagavard village. Deadly clashes also continued along state border (see Armenia and Azerbaijan). On diplomatic front, negotiations stalled. Armenian PM Pashinyan 12 Aug called for talks under Minsk Group mediation, while Azerbaijan throughout month insisted that NK conflict had been resolved, implying Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe Minsk Group’s mediation mandate is over, said it prefers bilateral talks with Yerevan, Russian-only mediation or 3+3 format including Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia and Iran. Azerbaijani media and experts during month criticised Russian peacekeepers for allegedly favouring Armenian troops in NK; Azerbaijani President Aliyev 14 Aug criticised Russia for not doing enough to implement ceasefire agreement. Despite dim prospect for peace negotiations, trilateral working group on NK comprising Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia 17 Aug resumed talks in Russian capital Moscow on regional transportation routes; talks were launched with Russian mediation in Jan 2021 and had remained deadlocked since May. Aliyev seeks corridor connecting Azerbaijan with Turkey, while Armenia desires cargo transit through Azerbaijani territory to Russia. Turkish President Erdogan 29 Aug expressed readiness for talks on regional transportation and economic cooperation with Armenia if Yerevan joins Ankara’s proposed 3+3 format uniting Russia, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia (see Armenia).
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

3 Oct 2020
This is a more serious escalation [over Nagorno-Karabakh], much better prepared, with more troops, and happening simultaneously on all parts of the front line. The Economist

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
28 Sep 2020
We are a step away from a large-scale war (between Armenia and Azerbaijan). Al-Jazeera

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
27 Jul 2020
At some point there are things that require somebody to set a leadership agenda. [OSCE] can’t do all of that without somebody in charge. Financial Times

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
16 Jul 2020
It seems unlikely the [Azerbaijan-Armenia] crisis would escalate, as neither side has territorial claims on northern border areas and the fighting had not spread to Karabakh itself. Al Jazeera

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
12 Apr 2017
The chances for the potential escalation [of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict] are very high. And the conflict will be more deadly this time, since both sides know each other’s capabilities Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Magdalena Grono

Former Program Director, Europe & Central Asia
29 Dec 2016
[A border clash between Armenia and Azerbaijan] is really very strange and surprising. There have been very few incidents outside Nagorno-Karabakh this year. Financial Times

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus

Latest Updates

Podcast / Asia

Ethnicity and Conflict in Myanmar

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Rob Malley and guest host Richard Atwood talk about the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh with Crisis Group’s Europe Program Director Olga Oliker and examine Myanmar’s identity crisis with Crisis Group expert Richard Horsey. 

Turkey Flexes Its Foreign Policy Muscles

In this week’s episode of Hold Your Fire!, Nigar Göksel, Crisis Group’s Turkey director, dissects Turkey’s assertive moves in places ranging from Syria and Iraq to Libya, the eastern Mediterranean, and now Nagorno-Karabakh.

Reducing the Human Cost of the New Nagorno-Karabakh War

Fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh is decimating towns and cities, displacing tens of thousands and killing scores. Combatants must cease attacks on populated areas and let humanitarian aid through. International actors, notably the UN and OSCE, should send monitors and push harder for a ceasefire.

What’s Behind the Fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh

In this week’s episode of Hold Your Fire!, Olesya Vartanyan, Crisis Group’s senior South Caucasus analyst, opens up about how the recent flare-up in Nagorno-Karabakh is affecting her personally. It could be the “big war” between Armenia and Azerbaijan that everyone was dreading would happen.

De-escalating the New Nagorno-Karabakh War

Azerbaijan and Armenia are again at war over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region. Russia and France may be best-positioned to broker a ceasefire, but would need to offer parties prospects of attaining goals through talks. It will be a hard sell.

Our People

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
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Zaur Shiriyev

Analyst, South Caucasus
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