Two important events took place on Monday: Azerbaijan shot down a Russian helicopter in the skies over Armenia and an agreement was signed between Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan to end all hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh. As one of those events preceded the other, one cannot but think about a certain connection between them.
On the evening of November 9, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that a Russian Mi-24 helicopter was shot down over the territory of Armenia near the village of Yeraskh near the border with Nakhichevan (Azerbaijan). Two crew members were killed and another one was injured.
Later that day, the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan admitted that its troops shot down the Russian helicopter accidentally. Baku apologized to Moscow and expressed its readiness to pay a price for the tragedy. The Russian Foreign Ministry "positively" accepted apologies from Azerbaijan and insisted the country should conduct an in-depth investigation into the "incident."
"Further steps in connection with the shootdown of the Russian helicopter in Armenian airspace will be determined after the investigation," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
A few hours after the new escalation of the conflict, Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed an agreement on the cessation of hostilities and principles of a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Perhaps Moscow ran out of patience, and Baku was coerced to sign the agreement that it had no intention to sign. In accordance with the agreement, two occupied regions of Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh itself, within the framework of the former Soviet autonomy, remain under Armenia's control.
Niyazi Niyazov (Doctor of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of International Relations in Post-Soviet Space of the Faculty of International Relations of St. Petersburg State University), told Pravda.Ru that the helicopter shootdown was a tragic accident that did not entail the signing of the armistice agreement.
The parties were conducting negotiations on the settlement of the conflict for at least a week, although it was not widely advertised in the media, the expert said. Otherwise, it would be impossible to deploy Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone within 24 hours, Niyazov added.
On November 9, a Communist Party MP in Ulyanovsk posted a photo on social media with a caption saying that Ulyanovsk paratroopers were being sent to Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to the expert, many in Azerbaijan believe that it was necessary to complete the operation by forceful liberation of the entire territory of Nagorno-Karabakh using its own resources. Yet, given the imminent deployment of Turkish peacekeepers, the majority of Azerbaijanis welcome the idea, because they understand that this is a real chance for peace, the expert said.
Most of the Armenian people, the expert said, are opposed to the cessation of hostilities and the surrender of territories. The reality is that Armenia, de facto, has no serious military resources left to continue the war. If the hostilities continue for at least one more month, the military forces of Armenia will be completely and irrevocably defeated, concluded Niyazi Nizov.
Political scientist Fyodor Lukyanov pointed out in his Telegram channel "Russia in Global Affairs" that Azerbaijan, from now on, will attack Russian peacekeepers, if it wants to attack Nagorno-Karabakh. Georgia knows how Russia responds to that.
"For the time being, everything looks like a serious diplomatic victory for Russia. Without firing a single shot, Russia is bringing its military contingent to the last disputed territory of the former USSR. In total, with Abkhazia and South Ossetia beyond the Caucasian ridge, there are about 11,000 of Russian soldiers and officers, which is equal to the number of troops in a rifle division," Fyodor Lukyanov wrote.
It is worthy of note that less three months after Turkey shot down the Russian Su-24, 22 Turkish pilots were killed in an explosion that took place near the bus in which they were traveling.
In case of the Russian helicopter, one needs to wait for the results of the investigation, which will be conducted with the participation of Russian prosecutors.
The Biden administration has reproduced the sanctions that the Trump administration imposed on Russia for the alleged poisoning of the Skripals