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The Russian peacekeeping force has entered the Nagorno-Karabakh region and is working to establish 16 observation points to monitor the ceasefire regime. According to updated information, the core of the force is made up of units of the 15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade “Alexandria” and the Military Police.
Russian forces have already taken control of the Lachin corridor, which links Armenia with Karabakh. The Armenian town of Goris is being using by the Russians as the build-up area for further deployment. The tasks of Russian observation posts in Karabakh, according to the Russian General Staff, are the following:
- collecting information on ceasefire violations and communicating this information to the peacekeepers’ command;
- maintaining the safety of free transit and transport;
- suppression of illegal actions against the civilian population.
As it was revealed earlier, the deployment includes 1,960 personnel, 90 armored personnel carriers, 380 motorized vehicles and special equipment. The deployment includes BTR-82A, Tigr, Typhoon armoured vehicles as well as Mi-8 and Mi-24 military helicopters which will be used to monitor the ceasefire together with reconnaissance drones. Photos and videos from the ground also showed specialized electronic equipment and even battle tanks. The tanks were not noticed as a part of the peacekeeping force. So, most likely they will remain in the Lachin corridor area only, on the Armenian side of the border.
The deployment of Turkish peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh boasted of by Ankara appears to equate to the participation of the Turkish side in the ceasefire monitoring center with Russia. Ankara and Moscow have already signed a memorandum of understanding on its creation. The center will be located on Azerbaijani-controlled territory and will allow the coordination of ceasefire monitoring efforts and the review of ceasefire violation complaints.
The Azerbaijani side also reported that it has already started to set up policing units on the territories it has taken during the war. Meanwhile, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev promised to turn the areas captured from the self-proclaimed Armenian Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh into a paradise.
“Our people’s unity will enable us to bring back life to the liberated territories. Karabakh will be reborn. It will be revived and reinvigorated. It will become a real paradise,” Aliyev said. According to him, Baku is now going to focus on demining and securing the retaken territory as well as restoring infrastructure there.
These developments come amid a developing political crisis in Armenia. Last night, the opposition was unable to dismiss the country’s prime minister Nikol Pashinyan, who is still in hiding, because of a lack of quorum in the Parliament. At the same time, security forces started arresting protesters and opposition leaders demanding the resignation of the cabinet.
The crisis was accompanied by revelations of Arayik Harutyunyan, the President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, who claimed that the Armenian forces had suffered from a lack of proper command, manpower, equipment and combat morale in the crucial days of the war.
“When we were supposed to go to Yehnikner with our elite units and the Armenian special forces, our units refused to go there. I asked, begged, said that I would go ahead, but received a negative answer! They didn’t go with me, they left the President of their country alone,” Harutyunyan said.
The president added that 18-20-year-old conscripts were the main forces fighting against the Azerbaijani military and its allies in Karabakh. The statement of the Karabakh leader highlights the real state of events and the lack of authentic and much needed assistance from the government of Armenia to the self-proclaimed republic during the war.