The Russian Foreign Ministry said that a ceasefire deal brokered by President Vladimir Putin late on November 9, 2020 has been “by and large” respected by the conflicting sides. It said both Baku and Yerevan are committed to a “further implementation and full compliance with all of its provisions.”
“We will do our best to contribute to a normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia and support peace initiatives aimed at expanding contacts at all levels on a wide range of issues related to ensuring stability, security and economic development in the South Caucasus,” read a ministry statement issued on the first anniversary of the agreement.
The statement said Moscow will specifically keep trying to find solutions to outstanding “socioeconomic and humanitarian” problems in and around Karabakh. It also promised continued Russian efforts to help Armenia and Azerbaijan demarcate their border and establish transport links.
The truce accord was reached after the Azerbaijani army captured four districts south of Karabakh as well as the Armenian-populated disputed territory’s southern Hadrut district and the town of Shushi (Shusha). It led to Armenian withdrawal from three other districts occupied by Karabakh Armenian forces in the early 1990s.
According to the Armenian authorities, more than 3,700 Armenian soldiers and 75 civilians were killed during the war. At least 246 others remain unaccounted for.
Baku has acknowledged over 2,900 combat deaths in the Azerbaijani army ranks.
The ceasefire deal was followed by the deployment of 2,000 Russian peacekeeping forces in Karabakh and the so-called Lachin corridor connecting the territory to Armenia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the peacekeepers have made a “significant contribution to stabilizing the situation and ensuring security in the region.” They have demined 2,311 hectares of land and 683 kilometers of roads over the past year, it said.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry insisted, meanwhile, that Azerbaijan has failed to comply with the Russian-brokered deal. It said that Baku is continuing to hold dozens of Armenian prisoners of war and civilian captives and to periodically violate the ceasefire regime.
A ministry statement also dismissed Azerbaijan’s claims that it resolved the Karabakh conflict with its victory in the war. It said Karabakh’s status can be determined only as a result of negotiations mediated by the Russian, U.S. and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.
Senior Azerbaijani officials insisted late last week that Armenia must recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over Karabakh through a “peace treaty” proposed by Baku. They complained that Yerevan has still not accepted the proposal.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterpart on Monday for the second time in a week. The phone calls came the day after the Kremlin confirmed that Putin is trying to organize fresh talks between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that the sides have still not agreed on the date of the virtual trilateral summit.
An Armenian media outlet reported late last month that during the upcoming talks Aliyev and Pashinian will sign two Russian-drafted documents announcing the start of the demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and the opening of transport links between the two South Caucasus states.