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Expert: In Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan is a gun in the hands of the criminal

Anatoly Tsyganok, president of the Military Forecast Center, Professor at the Academy of Military Sciences

Azerbaijan has lately used land battleships while firing at Karabakh positions on the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, which is a result of Ankara’s influence on its “junior brother,” Anatoly Tsyganok, president of the Military Forecast Center, Professor at the Academy of Military Sciences, told EADaily. In his words, in the given case, Azerbaijan was used as “a gun in the hands of the criminal.”

“When Turkey shot down the Russian warplane over Syria, it came out as an aggressor. This sparked a Russian-Turkish conflict that began to develop rapidly. Turkey seeks to create as many problems to Russia as possible. How can it cause a direct irrecoverable damage to Russia from the south? Sure, it is the necessary to foment and escalate the Karabakh conflict – a conflict that cannot be settled without Russia. Yet, these plans of Ankara will never come true,” Tsyganok said.

The reason why fiasco is predetermined is the situation Azerbaijan has found itself in. “If you have noticed, no one in Baku uses the erstwhile official thesis of Heydar Aliyev ‘two countries – one nation’ any longer.  However, this phrase still remains deep in the collective consciousness of Azerbaijan and does not let to disengage itself from Turkey as a regional military-political agent. On the other hand, Turkey has entered an open confrontation with Russia and did it the way that angered its NATO partners. Even Washington blamed Ankara, though not openly, and washed hands. It turns out that Baku that should be solidary with Turkey as they are ‘two countries - one nation’ does not want to do it for purely pragmatic reasons,” Anatoly Tsyganok said.

Apparently, he said, Azerbaijan has agreed to undertake some actions in the conflict zone, but it will not go beyond shelling from its territory. “Land battleships are a matter that craves serious attention, indeed. I do not remember any of the sides using tanks in the Karabakh conflict during the last 15 years. There have been sniper fire, mortars, but tanks…Nevertheless, this will not escalate the conflict, it is hardly probable. No one will let it happen. None of the external actors in the region seeks to unleash a third hotbed of confrontation. There is Ukraine, there is Syria. We are head over ears in it. Least of all, Russia, U.S., and Europe would want to get another hotbed. Finally, one should understand that there is Russia, Armenia, and the CSTO, within the framework of which they undertook certain commitments. Russia will fulfill its commitments under the CSTO, should the need arise,” Tsyganok said.

As for the future of the Karabakh conflict and the chances to resolve it, the president of the Military Forecast Center said: “The Karabakh issue a) cannot be resolved without Russia, b) cannot be resolved without participation of all the three parties to the conflict: Yerevan, Baku, and Stepanakert. The first point has been achieved, as Russia is involved in the peace process within the OSCE Minsk Group. The second point is not implemented, as Stepanakert  - one of the parties to the conflict - is not involved in the peace process. Conflicts are not settled in such way. The other two parties can meet and discuss something in a bilateral “format,” but they will achieve nothing unless Stepanakert takes its sit at the negotiating table. Armenia must insistently press for participation of Nagorno-Karabakh in the negotiations like it was at the very beginning of the process. Only in such case it will be possible to speak of more and less probable resolution of the conflict in the visible future.”

Referring to the NKR Defense Ministry, EADaily reported that on the night of Dec 9, Azerbaijani Armed Forces have used land battleships while firing at Karabakh positions in southern direction. As the Nagorno-Karabakh defense ministry’s press office informs, as a result of the attack at 09:10 p.m. on Dec 8, professional soldier Garik Avanesyan, born in 1991, was killed.

According to the report, the Azerbaijani side also used high caliber firearms, mortar launchers, TR-107 rocket launchers made in Turkey.

On the night of Dec 9, the ceasefire was breached 180 times by the Azerbaijani forces, they state at the Karabakh defense ministry.

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