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Ceasefire in Karabakh Region Remains Shaky Amidst Violations by Armenian Gangs

By Mushvig Mehdiyev July 15, 2021

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An Azerbaijani soldier attaches a national flag on a tower outside the town of Fuzuli, Azerbaijan, November 26, 2020 / AFP Photo

Illegal Armenian armed formations targeted the vicinity of the Shusha city in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh (Garabagh) region twice this week.

According to Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, the positions of the Azerbaijani Army located near Shusha came under fire on July 13 and July 15. The ceasefire was violated by Armenian armed gangs illegally stationed in the Azerbaijani territories, where Russian peacekeepers have been carrying out a temporary mission since last November.

No casualties were reported, according to a statement from the defense ministry.

The Russian peacekeeping contingent oversees the peace and adherence to a ceasefire in the Karabakh region under a tripartite agreement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia on November 10, 2020.

Russia sent 1,960 servicemen, 90 armored personnel carriers, and 380 units of an automobile and special equipment to Azerbaijan's Karabakh region in line with the last year’s agreement. The peacekeepers will stay in the region for five years with the possibility of extension unless any of the signatory parties object to this extension six months before the expiration of the current period. In addition, there is a joint Russian-Turkish monitoring center in the Aghdam district, which is tasked with overseeing potential violations of the existing tripartite agreement.

Some lawmakers in Azerbaijan believe the country should refuse Russia’s peacekeeping assistance after the expiration of the current mission. 

“Azerbaijan must itself control its entire territory, and we have no desire to see Russian peacekeepers here in five years,” Rasim Musabayov, the member of the Azerbaijani Parliament, told BBC Azerbaijan.

Meanwhile, ceasefire violations by Armenia are nothing new. On July 6, the Armenian criminal gangs located in the areas monitored by peacekeepers shelled Azerbaijan’s Aghdam district. As a result, one Azerbaijani serviceman was injured.

On Wednesday, one Azerbaijani serviceman was wounded by the Armenian forces in Azerbaijan’s southwestern exclave of Nakhchivan. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry reported that Armenian armed forces units used various caliber weapons to target Azerbaijan’s positions in Nakhchivan. The offensive was suppressed with retaliatory fire, according to the ministry. 

Armenia and Azerbaijan have long been at odds over the latter’s Karabakh (Garabagh) region. On September 27, 2020, the decades-old conflict between the two countries spiraled after Armenia’s forces deployed in the occupied Azerbaijani lands shelled military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. During the counter-attack operations that lasted 44 days, Azerbaijani forces liberated over 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha, from nearly 30-year-long illegal Armenian occupation.

The war ended in a tripartite statement signed on November 10 by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. Under the statement, Armenia also returned the occupied Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan.