Rusiya sülhməramlıları Xocalı hava limanının qarşısındakı keçid məntəqəsində

Rusiya sülhməramlıları Xocalı hava limanının qarşısındakı keçid məntəqəsində

The presence of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh has come under scrutiny as recent developments in the region have raised questions about their continued role. The trilateral statement signed in November 2020 by Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia outlined the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh, with a mandate to remain in the region and the Lachin corridor until November 2025. If none of the parties objects six months before this date, the mandate is automatically extended for an additional five years.

However, recent events have called into question the need for the continued presence of Russian peacekeepers. Azerbaijan conducted military operations in Karabakh in September 2023, leading to the acceptance of disarmament conditions by representatives of the unrecognized organization in Karabakh in Baku on November 20. The "President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic," Samvel Shahramanyan, signed a decree announcing the complete cessation of the Republic's activities effective January 1. As a result, the Armenian population has begun leaving Karabakh, with reports of a significant number of people of Armenian origin departing the region.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin has asserted the necessity of maintaining a peacekeeping contingent in Karabakh, citing the importance of ensuring the comfort of Karabakh residents. He suggested that some who left the region might decide to return, and the presence of peacekeepers could contribute to their sense of security. Galuzin indicated that the matter of the peacekeepers' future presence in the region would be resolved through discussions between Russia and Azerbaijan.

The stance of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this matter remains undisclosed. However, Deputy Hikmat Babaoglu, a member of the Central Office of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP), in an interview with Turan suggested that several provisions of the trilateral statement had already become invalid due to evolving political processes. He indicated that significant changes had occurred concerning the mission of Russian peacekeepers.

Political commentator Arastun Orujlu, in a commentary for Radio Azadlig, argued that the actual need for a military contingent operating under the guise of "Russian peacekeepers" in Karabakh had diminished significantly. He pointed out that the Armenian population in the region had dwindled, making it questionable whether such a substantial peacekeeping presence was necessary. Orujlu suggested that Azerbaijan should communicate its desire for Russia to withdraw from Karabakh, a position that Armenia might also support.

The situation surrounding the continued presence of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh remains complex, with varying perspectives on their role and relevance given the evolving dynamics in the region. Armenia has yet to engage in discussions on this issue, leaving the future of the peacekeeping mission uncertain.

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