Facts: The Armenian separatist forces of Nagorno-Karabakh announced on Wednesday that they had accepted the terms of a ceasefire agreement after a series of setbacks against the Azerbaijani army, which launched an anti-terrorist operation the day before. According to a press release from the separatists, the agreement, proposed by Russia and effective at 1 p.m. local time this Wednesday, provides for the dissolution and disarmament of Armenian forces in the region as well as the withdrawal of Armenian forces. Discussions on the future of the territory and the Armenians who live there will take place on Thursday between representatives of the population and Azerbaijani authorities.
The final act of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is perhaps playing out. Launched on Tuesday, Azerbaijan’s military operation appears to have achieved its objectives in less than twenty-four hours. The Armenian forces were unable to resist and surrendered. A ceasefire was concluded on Wednesday between the two sides and talks must begin on Thursday in Yevlakh (Azerbaijan).
Other developments will probably happen, but the geopolitical map of the Caucasus has just shifted before our eyes. On a local level, the Armenians of the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh are the vanquished, despite international protests. However, on a regional scale, by preventing a political overthrow in Armenia – Russia could lose its influence in its “near abroad”, that is to say its former empire.
In those territories, the situation had been frozen since the fall of 2020, following a first Armenian military defeat. All that remained was a small enclave of approximately 3000km², a half-French department, self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh since 1991. This territory, separated from the Republic of Armenia by the “Lachin corridor”, was placed under the protection of 2000 Russian soldiers. According to international law, Nagorno-Karabakh is on the territory of Azerbaijan, within its 1991 borders, inherited from the Soviet division. According to the Armenians, 120,000 inhabitants live in Nagorno Karabakh, which is 50,000 according to Azerbaijan.
“Red line”. Elchin Amirbayov, Representative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan for Special Assignments stated that the election of the new president of ‘Artsakh’ on September 9 was a red line for Baku. Since July 12, tensions have arisen with the blockade of the region by Baku’s decision, which has led to a humanitarian crisis. According to Azerbaijan, the main reason for the start of the operation, which was prepared for a long time, was the death of 11 people due to the explosion of mines placed by the Armenian military on Monday.
Azerbaijan accuses Armenia of having maintained a contingent of around 10,000 soldiers in Nagorno-Karabakh, including 3,000 locally recruited servicemen. However, official Yerevan denied it. This presence was contrary to the agreements reached in 2020. The “anti-terrorist” operation launched on Tuesday was against these forces. Azerbaijan’s military superiority is indisputable. In particular, Turkiye and Israel support Azerbaijan.