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Armenia’s PM: Azerbaijan is preparing fresh ‘military provocation’

The region of Nagorno-Karabakh on the territory of Azerbaijan, which is controlled by separatists, is the cause of a long-term conflict, according to France24.

Each side blames the other for cross-border attacks as tensions have risen sharply in recent months. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told his cabinet meeting in Yerevan:

“The military-political situation in our region has seriously worsened.”

He said Azerbaijan was “concentrating” troops near the mountainous Karabakh region and also along the border. He claimed:

“Azerbaijan is demonstrating its intention to undertake a fresh military provocation against Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.”

Azerbaijan called the claims as “yet another false political manipulation.” Its foreign ministry reported:

“Armenia must abandon territorial claims to Azerbaijan, to end military-political provocations, and to stop creating obstacles to the peace process.”

Armenian Defence Minister Suren Papikyan decided not to visit to Cyprus “due to the escalation of the situation in Armenia,” his Cypriot counterpart Michalis Giorgallas posted on social media. The European Union monitoring mission placed on the Armenian side of the border claimed it has “increased patrolling activity… to observe any military developments.”

Pashinyan made the remarks ahead of snap presidential elections in the separatist enclave on Saturday and days before joint exercises between Armenian and American peacekeeping forces in Yerevan.

The Kremlin on Thursday said they would harm stability in the volatile Caucasus region. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:

“Without a doubt, the conduct of these kinds of exercises do not help to stabilise the situation or strengthen the atmosphere of mutual trust in the region. Russia continues to fulfil its function as a guarantor of security.”

Yerevan has accused Baku of blockading Nagorno-Karabakh since December, spurring a humanitarian crisis in Armenian-populated towns. Pashinyan has criticised Moscow for failing to unblock the sole road linking Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, which is being patrolled by Russian peacekeepers. It started in 2020 when Russia brokered a ceasefire ending a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan for control of the region.

Lately Pashinyan has said it was a “strategic blunder” for Yerevan – a traditional Moscow ally – to rely on Russia as its security guarantor.

Yerevan and Baku have been unable to reach a lasting peace settlement despite mediation efforts by the European Union, the United States and Russia. The two sides have fought two wars for control over the region, which is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but largely populated by ethnic Armenians.

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