Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

CrisisWatch Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Unchanged Situation

Azerbaijan and de facto Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) authorities accused each other of targeting military positions and civilian areas in NK; disagreements over format of future NK negotiations continued.

Azerbaijan and de facto NK authorities traded accusations of ceasefire violations. Reports of sharp increase in attacks at military positions and nearby civilian areas along front line in NK conflict zone drew accusations and denials from Azerbaijan and de facto authorities in equal measure. Notably, Stepanakert 10 Nov said Azerbaijani shooting injured one farmer; Azerbaijan’s defence ministry 26 Nov reported downing of quadcopter allegedly used by de facto forces for surveillance purposes; Stepanakert 28 Nov said Azerbaijani forces injured two soldiers with mine launchers. Russian peacekeepers’ reports of stepped-up shootings aggravated tensions with Baku, which 24, 25 Nov accused mission of partial and biased reporting. Meanwhile, situation at Armenia-Azerbaijan border remained fragile following Sept clashes, with both sides reporting shooting along front line during Nov (see Armenia, Azerbaijan).

Azerbaijan accused Armenia of planting mines in NK conflict zone. Azerbaijan 23 Nov invited military attachés of several foreign states to observe hundreds of mines, reportedly produced in Armenia in 2021 and discovered around Sarybaba heights near Lachin corridor after being captured by Azerbaijani troops during Aug escalation. Baku also invited Russian peacekeeping mission and Russian-Turkish observation centres, mandated to prevent transportation of any weapons from Armenia to NK, to site. Yerevan and Stepanakert 24 Nov denied planting mines in area and accused Baku of staging it as pretext for provocation.

Stepanakert and Baku disagreed over format of future NK negotiations. Russian businessman Ruben Vardanyan 4 Nov became de facto state minister of NK; Azerbaijani President Aliyev 17 Nov ruled out possibility of negotiations with Vardanyan, who he said was sent from Moscow “with a very clear agenda”. In same statement, Aliyev confirmed willingness to speak with “Armenians who live in Karabakh” but excluded talks with de facto NK authorities; de facto FM Davit Babayan next day reiterated readiness to negotiate with Azerbaijan but only in “internationally recognised” format, namely “the OSCE Minsk Group”.

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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 Karab... 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 othe... Institute for War & Peace Reporting
Magdalena Grono

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

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