Analyst: No interest for Russia in all-out war in Karabakh

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A full-blown war in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not in the interest of Russia, which is preparing for another war, according to a Yerevan-based political analyst.

Sergey Shakaryants believes that Russia as well as another major regional player, Iran, are now more preoccupied with preparations for a likely war with Turkey.

“If Iran is amassing a large number of troops at the border with Turkey, if Russia from year to year beefs up its military bases in Armenia, Abkhazia and elsewhere in the region, it is not being done for a re-conquest of the South Caucasus and reestablishment of its empire, but is being done for a war in Turkey’s territory,” the analyst contended.

Shakaryants did not elaborate on how exactly Russia or Iran could war against NATO member Turkey, only mentioning the Kurdish factor inside Turkey and stressing that they should be ready for “all sorts of complicated developments”.

Relations between Russia and Turkey dramatically worsened last year amid Moscow’s military operations in Syria apparently annoying Ankara. It followed the downing of a Russian warplane near the Turkish-Syrian border by Turkey’s air force.

When four-day hostilities were raging in Nagorno-Karabakh earlier this month killing scores on both sides a lot of inside and outside observers pointed an accusatory finger at Turkey, a key ally of Azerbaijan, suspecting that this way it tried to engage in a proxy war with Russia that would be, in this case, represented by the latter’s political and military ally in the region, Armenia.

Some, however, also saw Moscow’s hand, or at least its “green light”, behind Azerbaijan’s aggression, considering that Russia supplies modern weaponry to both sides of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh ground to a halt on April 5 after Russia’s mediation effort as senior military officials from Armenia and Azerbaijan verbally agreed on a ceasefire at a meeting in Moscow.

Despite sporadic gunfire and skirmishes at the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh and the restive Armenian-Azerbaijani border, the ceasefire largely holds today.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated on Thursday that the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh should be resolved through peaceful negotiations, by way of compromises.

“That’s a very sensitive issue, and it seems to me that we have to treat it very carefully, being guided by the well-known principle of medics – do no harm,” Putin said, adding that Russia will continue to work within international bodies and engage with Armenia and Azerbaijan bilaterally to promote a solution to the problem.