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 Tuesday, December 20 2022 18:23
Marianna Mkrtchyan

Azerbaijani blockade of only lifeline between Armenia, Artsakh meets  interests of Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance, NATO - opinion  

Azerbaijani blockade of only lifeline between Armenia, Artsakh meets  interests of Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance, NATO - opinion  

ArmInfo.Azerbaijani blockade of the only road connecting Armenia with Artsakh meets the interests of the Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance and NATO and is aimed  at discrediting the Russian peacekeepers deployed in Karabakh and  squeezing Russia out of the region, stated the participants in a  panel discussion entitled "Russian peacekeepers, frontier guards and  Military Base 102 as a stabilizing factor in the South Caucasus",  organized by the Powerful Armenia with Russia for New Alliance  movement on Tuesday. 

Specifically, the ex-MP Hayk Babukhanyan is sure that by resorting to  provocations Azerbaijan is seeking to force the Russian peacekeepers  out of Karabakh.  

"Under the circumstances, I regard as at least strange the Armenian  premier's claim that he is uninformed of the six points concerning  the CSTO's assistance to Armenia the military alliance members were  talking about. And rejecting the CSTO's assistance was strange step  as well," Mr Babukhanyan said. 

Eduard Sharmazanov, former vice-speaker of Armenia's parliament and  member of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), is sure that CSTO  Secretary General Stanislav Zas revealed the "mediocre personality"  of the head of Armenia's incumbent government. "Just think that the  CSTO [Russia] was ready to render military and technical assistance  to Armenia - providing arms and ammunition free of charge or at the  prices in effect in Russia. But Armenia's premier rejected that  assistance, stating that, you see, no proper political assessment was  made. How could the head of a state in a dire need for arms make such  a step," Mr Sharmazanov asked. He accused Armenia's authorities of  pursuing an antinational policy. 

But for the Russian peacekeepers, no Armenia would be living in  Nagorno-Karabakh now. But for Russian military base 102 Turkey would  have attacked Armenia long ago. "I am not claiming Russia's current  activities in the region are brilliant. But it does not mean we  should stab our ally in the back. The goal of NATO and the West, as  well as of Turkey and Azerbaijan, both of which are advancing their  interests, is to squeeze Russia out of the South Caucasus by all  possible means. If it succeeds, Azerbaijan will get Nagorno-Karabakh  with no Armenians there, Armenia without the leaders serving national  interests and the South Caucasus without Russia," Mr Sharmazanov  said. And Armenia could turn into a "public thoroughfare for  pan-Turkic figures."

It is na‹ve to hope for the West's assistance to Armenians now. Amid  the Azerbaijani blockade of the 120- strong Armenian population in  Nagorno-Karabakh, the EU is singing contracts with Azerbaijan worth  dozens of millions of US dollars, while it is turning a blind eye and  a deaf ear to human rights and democratic values, Mr Sharmazanov  said. 

"There is no alternative to Russian presence in the region. We should  realize that blocking the only road connecting Armenia with Artsakh  is against the Artsakh Armenians, Armenian nationhood and Russian  peacekeepers. And Azerbaijan is doing it by the order of Turkey and  NATO, amid the uncertainty on the Ukraine front. So this is an  attempt to open a second front next to Russia," he said. If Russia  suffers defeat in Ukraine, Armenia will suffer the same fate as it  did a century ago, Mr Sharmazanov added.  

Military expert Hayk Nahapetyan spoke of the military component of  the developments, saying that following the 44-day aggression  Azerbaijan was busy making up for its losses. "For the last two years  Azerbaijan has been preparing for a new war. Evidence thereof is the  number of military drill in immediate coordination with Turkey. And  what was Armenia doing? Nothing. We have not made up for our losses,  nor are we preparing for repulsing another possible aggression," the  expert said.   

Mr Nahapetyan stressed that the regime that came to power in 2018 has  since that time prepared its own army for a defeat. Evidence thereof  is, among other things, its incompetent personnel policy. "And now  these forces are leading us to a new defeat - and this new phase is  the blockade of the Lachin corridor. And this is the thin end of the  wedge," the expert said. 

Mr Nahapetyan is sure that it is only the Artsakh authorities that  can save the situation, as Armenia's authorities are "in the field of  Turkey and Azerbaijan." "The Artsakh authorities must start total  mobilization. They have the necessary resources, and 30,000 our  reserve officers. And we can make use of that," he said.

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