Do we need such "peacekeepers" in Karabakh?

    ANALYTICS  02 December 2022 - 11:31

    Huseyn Safarov

    The Azerbaijanis have a lot of claims and questions to the Russian peacekeeping contingent (RPC), deployed in a certain part of Karabakh in accordance with the Tripartite Statement of November 10, 2020, almost immediately after the victory of Azerbaijan in the 44-day war. It seems that the Russian peacekeepers are not as neutral as their duties require and are, to put it mildly, more favorable to the Armenian side, which makes the Karabakh separatists behave quite freely in their zone of responsibility.

    The last episode related to peacekeepers, as well as the 30-year occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia, which is indicative of the obviously ambivalent attitude of the RPC to the parties to the conflict, is also quite revealing. It should be noted that the incident caused a wave of indignation in Azerbaijani society. The thing is that RPC in its news bulletin uses Armenian toponyms of Azerbaijani settlements. The first to react to the provocation was the Ministry of Defence of Azerbaijan. The official release of the defence ministry pointed out RPC's mistakes and demanded from now on not to use fictitious Armenian geographic and administrative names on its maps. "Designation of Karabakh economic region as 'territory of Nagorno-Karabakh' must be stopped. It is inadmissible to mark the Azerbaijani territories with fictitious Armenian toponyms," Azerbaijani Defence Ministry said.

    Earlier in its statement, the Defence Ministry said that "the list and map of settlements of the Karabakh economic region of Azerbaijan with Azerbaijani toponyms were officially submitted to the Russian Defence Ministry, the previous and current commanders of Russian peacekeeping forces, the contingent temporarily deployed on the territory of Azerbaijan, as well as the Joint Turkish-Russian Monitoring Centre, and repeatedly requested to use those names in the data".

    Members of the Milli Majlis also joined in the fair criticism of the RPC. In particular, Siyavush Novruzov stated that Russian peacekeepers after September (the September 2022 military incident on the border. - Ed.) supported separatism instead of creating peace. "If they cannot perform their functions, let us ask them to stop their activities. We need peacemakers, not separatists," the deputy said.

    It would seem that the Russian Defence Ministry should have reacted and at least taken Baku's remark into account. Contrary to expectations, the website of the Russian Defence Ministry published a new press release in which another wording was used that was categorically unacceptable for Baku: "the armed formations of Nagorno-Karabakh".

    That is, to all appearances, the Russian peacekeepers not only failed to justify the hopes of the Azerbaijani people, but their actions only delay the establishment of peace in Karabakh, which contradicts their main mission - to ensure peaceful life and stability in the region. If we call things by their proper names, the RPC, sad to say, in fact, has been carrying out destructive activities practically since the first days of its deployment to Karabakh. Take for example point 4 of the Trilateral Statement of November 10, 2020: the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation is deployed in parallel with the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces. But the extremist separatists were in Karabakh and are still there. Moreover, arms and ammunition are supplied to these gangs via roads under the control of the RPC.

    Moreover, the peacekeepers let the Iranian saboteurs into Karabakh.

    Today it is already quite clear that the RMK is pursuing goals that are far from ensuring peace in Karabakh. By adopting a one-sided and biased position, the Russian defence ministry distributes in its bulletins information that does not correspond to reality about the violation of the ceasefire by the Azerbaijani army, while it completely ignores the facts presented by the Defence Ministry of Azerbaijan which testify about the violation of the ceasefire by the Armenian band formations. Moreover, the commandment of RPC personally inspected the Saribaba hill, but the fact of finding the mines, which were planted by the Armenian separatists, did not appear in the report of peacekeepers.

    All in all, the picture that emerges is unfavorable, to say the least. The Russian peacekeepers seem to have become a tool in the hands of the separatists. Although, perhaps, the artificially created situation is beneficial for them. In any case, everything indicates that the main mission of General Volkov, the current commander of the Russian peacekeeping forces, is to create conditions in the Karabakh region, which would confirm the need for peacekeepers, that is, to maintain tension, not to ensure peace, as it was thought in Baku. The general does not forget about personal enrichment at the expense of the protection of the separatists for a minute.

    Separatists are quite satisfied with the current situation. The Armenians, freely walking around the Azerbaijani land with weapons in their hands and carrying out provocations, perceive the RPC as a guarantee of stability and at the same time their own security, and therefore are doing everything possible to prolong the stay of Russian troops in the region.

    No matter how you look at it, we have to admit that the Armenian gangs shooting at the Azerbaijani soldiers and the Russian peacekeepers, behind whose backs the separatists are hiding, are pursuing the same goal. It is impossible to explain in any other way not just the inactivity of the RPC, but actually pandering and even helping the bandits.

    By constantly spreading slanderous information about the alleged violation of the ceasefire by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, and presenting historical Azerbaijani toponyms on their maps with invented Armenian names, the peacekeepers violate neutrality, prolong the hostile situation and, most importantly, lose the trust of the Azerbaijani people.

    So the question of whether we need peacekeepers is quite logical. Undoubtedly, after three years, official Baku will consider the need to extend the mandate of the RPC from this position. For 30 years, Armenians have been using peace talks to maintain the status quo, i.e. not to leave the occupied lands for any reason, and now they use "peacekeeping activities" for the same insidious purposes. However, we should remind them how two years ago Azerbaijan dispelled the Armenian separatists' unfounded belief in the eternal enjoyment of someone else's wealth, and today Baku is in a position to destroy their hope of continuous "peacekeeping" support.

    And the RCC command should understand that the presence of Armenians in the territory of Azerbaijan is possible only in case of stable peace achieved within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and carry out its activity in this very direction. Otherwise, why do we need such "peacekeepers"?


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