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.
Tensions ran high in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) amid Azerbaijan’s blockade of Lachin corridor, which aggravated humanitarian crisis and heightened fears of ethnic cleansing; clashes occurred along line of contact.
Checkpoint on Lachin corridor faced fierce opposition amid humanitarian crisis. After Azerbaijan late April installed checkpoint on Lachin road connecting Armenia to NK, Azerbaijani-backed protesters ended months-long rally, which had hampered NK residents’ access to basic necessities. Azerbaijani military consolidated blockade, however, leading to even fewer crossings and reduced transportation of goods. De facto NK authorities early May said reinforced checkpoint caused “acute humanitarian crisis”. Armenia 22 May urged UN Security Council to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access to NK by “sending an international mission”. Meanwhile, thousands 9 May protested in de facto capital Stepanakert, chanting “No to ethnic cleansing”, amid fears checkpoint could be precursor to such acts.
Azerbaijani leader urged de facto officials to dissolve parliament in NK. Amid resumption of talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan (see Armenia and Azerbaijan), Armenian PM Pashinyan 22 May said “Azerbaijan’s territory includes Nagorno-Karabakh”, while still calling for special arrangements to protect rights and security of ethnic Armenians living in enclave. De facto President Arayik Harutyunyan 23 May called possible Armenian recognition of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over NK “unacceptable and inadmissible”. Azerbaijani President Aliyev 28 May said NK population should “obey the laws of Azerbaijan” and called for dissolution of parliament, warning Baku was capable of launching “operation” in region immediately; de facto authorities 29 May decried statement, while Armenian foreign ministry said Aliyev was threatening “the people of Nagorno-Karabakh with ethnic cleansing”.
De facto armed forces and Azerbaijan traded blame for unrest in northern NK. Azerbaijan 12 May reported de facto NK armed forces fired on Azerbaijani army; de facto defence ministry same day denied allegations. De facto authorities 18, 21 May accused Azerbaijan of violating ceasefire “in the northern & eastern directions” of NK contact line, attacking civilians.
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.
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.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood talks to Crisis Group’s Turkey expert, Nigar Göksel, about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent trip to Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Turkey’s involvement in conflicts in Syria, Libya and the Caucasus, and its wider foreign relations.
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