Anniversary of April battles for Karabakh: results and prospects

Anniversary of April battles for Karabakh: results and prospects

One year has passed since Azerbaijani army’s victory in April 2016 clashes. On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers.

Six civilians were killed, including two children aged under 16, and 26 people were injured as a result of shelling by Armenia. Numerous public and private facilities were severely damaged as a result of the offensive, 232 houses, 99 power transmission line poles, three substations, schools, mosques and other facilities were destroyed, Trend writes.

In order to suppress the Armenian provocation, ensure safety of the civilian population, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces command made a decision to take urgent response measures in the Aghdere-Tartar-Aghdam and Khojavand-Fuzuli directions.

As a result, during the four days of fighting, Azerbaijani Armed Forces liberated the heights near the Talish village, as well as the Seysulan point, which could pose a threat to the safety of Goranboy district and the city of Naftalan.

The Lele Tepe strategic height located in the direction of the Fuzuli district was taken under control. Also, as a result of the April fighting, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces ensured control over the roads in the Aghdere-Madaghiz direction. As many as 30 tanks, up to 15 armored guns and fortifications belonging to the Armenians were destroyed, 320 Armenian soldiers were killed and more than 500 servicemen of the enemy were wounded during the clashes.

As a result of the successful counteroffensive, more than 2,000 hectares of territory were liberated from the Armenian occupation, even a larger territory came under the control of the Azerbaijani army.

The first months after these events were encouraging: on May 16, the first direct meeting of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia took place in Vienna. A month later, on June 20, Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan held another talks in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg. But since mid-summer diplomatic activities began to decline, nothing new happened except for the resumption of Armenian provocations.

Russian experts have repeatedly noted in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza that the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is in a deadlock, since the international community stopped paying necessary attention to this problem, despite growing tensions on the contact line. Some of them believe that military solution to the conflict is becoming more and more real.

Political consultant, candidate of historical sciences, Oleg Kuznetsov, noted that "peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can be achieved only if "Artsakh" will surrender and Armenian troops will withdraw from it. There's no other condition for peaceful settlement. At the same time, I don't think it will happen, since Armenia is a country which suffers from the clash of two world powers' interests - Russia and the United States. The United States have a huge influence on this region, since this allows them to limit Russia's geostrategic presence in the regions of Asia and the Middle East, and its rapprochement with Turkey in particular. Armenia is just following what American politics tell it (it should be remembered that "referendum" in the occupied territories was held using the funds of one of US agencies under the program of development of democracy in the South Caucasus). That's why peaceful settlement of the conflict is simply impossible today."

The leading expert of the North-South Political Science Center, Alexander Karavaev, said that "a peaceful settlement and clashes are two sides of the same coin. It is a complex development using a variety of mechanisms, considering Azerbaijan's view on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. There will be military operations, it is obvious now, but at the same time there will be development of an interactive platform, the expansion of economic programs and provision of a message to the population about methods of economic reconstruction in Karabakh. These are literally parallel processes. Once a new aggravation on the line of contact is over, a dialogue will be immediately revived. These lines are bred now to show that the military solution is not removed from the agenda, and always will be a factor of influence and pressure, while new civic and economic initiatives will increase."

Political scientist Andrei Yepifantsev stressed that "the Nagorno-Karabakh problem is currently not a priority of the international community. It may sound unpleasant for Baku, but it's not a problem of Ukraine's or Syria's level. Even these problems are no longer in the focus of major countries - the United States deal with their own problems and Europe deals with part of their foreign policy agenda, Germany in particular. Germany's role will grow, but this country doesn't have much to do with the OSCE Minsk Group. It's hard to imagine that France, where people like Trump are likely to win in a few months, will intensify its efforts on Nagorno-Karabakh: it doesn't have as much weight as the US, and Armenian diaspora will continue to restrain any activity. The situation when mediators will say "yes, we support Azerbaijan, but it 's necessary to resolve everything only at the negotiating table" is going to continue. Armenia will just neglect these negotiations, showing to its citizens that no compromises can be reached. This situation can be resolved only after huge structural changes."