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Russia will intervene on Yerevan’s side if Azerbaijani troops move across border, Armenian PM Pashinyan insists

Russia will intervene on Yerevan’s side if Azerbaijani troops move across border, Armenian PM Pashinyan insists
Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said that Moscow will intervene if foreign forces encroach on his country’s territory. Russian peacekeepers are currently deployed on the Azeri-Armenian contact line.

Speaking to state-funded TV on Sunday, Pashinyan expressed his confidence in Russia's willingness to get involved in case of such an incursion.

In particular, Pashinyan was speaking about Syunik Province, in the country's southernmost region, which sits on the border with Azerbaijan. As a consequence of the autumn war between Baku and Yerevan, many villages in the province are now a stone's throw from Azerbaijani military positions and border posts. In some situations, such as the village of Shurnukh, the new border passes right through.

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“As a result of actions [on the border], the war in Syunik was stopped,” Pashinyan said. “Now we are positioned so that, in the event of an encroachment against Syunik, not only Armenian armed forces will intervene, but Russian too.”

Pashinyan’s comments came on the same day as another alleged breach of the Azeri-Armenian ceasefire, with Baku saying that “an illegal armed group of six Armenians” had attacked Azerbaijani forces, with one fatality. Yerevan has denied the reports.

Also on Sunday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed that President Vladimir Putin's friendly relations with both Baku and Yerevan were vital in achieving a truce between the two Caucasian nations.

On September 27, the up-to-then frozen Nagorno-Karabakh conflict suddenly erupted once again. The dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia is decades old, with both countries believing they have legitimate claims to the territory. The region is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but is primarily populated by ethnic Armenians. Baku considered the enclave to be illegally occupied by Yerevan.

Six weeks after the start of the fighting, on November 9, the leaders of Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan adopted a trilateral agreement on the cessation of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. As well as drawing up a new map, the parties also agreed on the deployment of Russian peacekeepers. At the time the truce was signed, Azerbaijan was at a clear advantage.

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