Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh demanded and needed - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister


Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh demanded and needed - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister

The mission of the Russian peacekeeping contingent still is highly required, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin said in an interview with RBC, published on October 9.


According to the deputy minister, the contingent played “a huge role in achieving the truce on 20 September and providing assistance to the residents of Karabakh at the stage before their mass withdrawal from Karabakh.”

“The role of our contingent is in demand, and I believe that in the future it will continue to be required. The issue number one is ensuring calm environment for those residents of Karabakh who remain there,” Galuzin said. He also did not rule out the possibility of the forcibly displaced people from Karabakh returning to their homes and added that in this case, the presence of peacekeepers will become an additional factor of peace for these people. “So I would not say that the activities of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Karabakh have completed,” the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said.

To note, on October 5, speaking at the Valdai Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Russian contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh has an exclusively observational mandate and does not have the right to intervene in the armed conflict. The deployment period of the Russian contingent expires in 2025. Vladimir Putin had previously repeatedly stated that Karabakh belonged to Azerbaijan, including immediately after the 44-day war in 2020.

In the interview with RBC, Deputy Foreign Minister Galuzin also said that the lack of reaction from Moscow to Azerbaijani aggression is due to the fact that in 2022, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, at negotiations in Brussels and Prague, recognized the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, including the territory of Karabakh, which has tied Russia’s hands as an intermediary.

“In addition, at the stage when the Armenian leadership recognized Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, not a word was said about the rights and security of the Karabakh Armenians. The relevant documents published by the European Union say nothing about this. The situation has changed dramatically, and it is very strange to accuse us of not fulfilling something,” said the deputy minister. He also stated that after the Azerbaijani aggression against the sovereign territory of Armenia in 2022, Russia and other CSTO members were ready to send a CSTO observation mission to Armenia, but, as he noted, they were refused by the top Armenian leadership. “Instead, an EU observation mission was called to Armenia, which did not play any stabilizing role,” Galuzin concluded.

To note, the CSTO is a defensive alliance and, according to the organization’s charter, in the event of aggression against any member, other states are obliged to provide military support. Armenia officially applied to the CSTO after the aggression of Azerbaijan in September 2022, when the internationally recognized territory of Armenia was targeted, however CSTO rejected military support to Yerevan.

Meanwhile in the interview the deputy foreign minister expressed Russia’s readiness to continue the mission as mediator in negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. “We are considering the possibility of holding such discussions at the level of foreign ministers on October 12 this year in Bishkek on the sidelines of the CIS summit events. The Azerbaijani side has already given its consent in principle. And we expect that the Armenian side will also approach this issue responsibly and agree to participate in such talks,” the deputy minister said.

He also emphasized the importance of reaching agreement on the use of the Meghri route for transportation. “We believe that this agreement will be a very important factor in overall stabilization in Transcaucasia. It will contribute to the economic development of all Transcaucasian states, because in this case Armenia will have the opportunity to become a transport and logistics hub, strengthen and expand its transport connections with Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Russia,” Galuzin said.


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