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CrisisWatch Armenia

Deteriorated Situation

In most significant escalation since Autumn 2020 war, border tensions with Azerbaijan turned deadly; meanwhile, preparations for 20 June snap elections proceeded. Border tensions rose throughout month. Armenia 12-13 May reported advance of three Azerbaijani military groups in areas close to southern section of its state border, between Azerbaijani-controlled Kelbajar region and Armenian-controlled southern provinces of Syunik and Gegharkunik; Yerevan 27 May claimed up to 1,000 soldiers entered its territory, while Baku countered that new military positions were inside Azerbaijan. In most significant escalation and crisis since ceasefire that ended 2020 Autumn war, Armenian defence ministry 25 May said fighting with Azerbaijani forces along border of Armenia’s eastern Gegharkunik district killed one Armenian soldier; Baku same day said death had “nothing to do with the Azerbaijani side”. Azerbaijani defence ministry 27 May reported detention of six Armenian soldiers after their alleged attempt to cross to Kelbajar district; Yerevan same day said detention took place in its controlled territory. Azerbaijan defence ministry 28 May reported one Azerbaijani soldier wounded in exchange of fire with Armenian military at central location of state border with Azerbaijan’s exclave Nakhchivan; Yerevan denied involvement. After trip to border area, Armenian PM Pashinyan 27 May called on Azerbaijan to create demilitarised zone monitored by international observers or peacekeepers; Armenian FM Ara Ayvazyan same day announced his resignation over disagreements with PM. Prior to escalation, Armenia and Azerbaijan 12-18 May joined Russian-mediated talks aimed at demarcating border. Moscow 18 May proposed establishment of joint demarcation commission to look into border issues. Meanwhile, with political campaigning already under way in recent months, President Sarkissian 10 May signed official decree enabling snap parliamentary elections, scheduled for 20 June. After announcing candidacy, former president Robert Kocharyan (also former leader of de facto Nagorno-Karabakh) 9 May held mass rally in capital Yerevan, during which he claimed to be sole candidate able to guarantee Nagorno-Karabakh’s future. Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe 19 May officially opened observation mission in Yerevan.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

13 Jul 2020
Many people would be very surprised if clashes at the Armenia-Azerbaijan border spiral out into war, but that doesn’t mean something cannot happen, say, in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. OC Media

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
2 Aug 2018
The general public sees Mr. Kocharian as a person responsible for accelerating the political stagnation that led to economic decline and social problems in [Armenia]. Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus
15 Nov 2017
The [Armenian] government generally supports a deeper militarization of society. The reforms discussed plan to merge everyday life with military service – the so-called 'army-society' model. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Olesya Vartanyan

Senior Analyst, South Caucasus

Latest Updates

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.

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.

Video: Preventing a Bloody Harvest on the Armenia-Azerbaijan State Border

The fresh violence in the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border now threatens the livelihoods of many facing the impossible choice of leaving their crops to rot or risking their lives gathering their produce for market.

Preventing a Bloody Harvest on the Armenia-Azerbaijan State Border

Fighting in July interrupted what had been a stretch of relative quiet on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. The incidents underscored how quickly and unexpectedly this front can erupt. The two countries should take better advantage of a hotline created in 2018 to avoid dangerous misunderstandings.  

Also available in Русский

Qaralar: the Fears of an Azerbaijani Village on the Border with Armenia

Settlements in proximity to the trenches on the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border render civilians on both sides equally vulnerable.