Russia condemns killing of Azerbaijani civilians by occupants in Karabakh
The head of the inter-parliamentary friendship group Azerbaijan-Russia Dmitry Savelyev condemned the killing of Azerbaijani civilians in the Alkhanli village of the Fuzuli district by Armenian occupants.
"Such actions of Karabakh separatists on the eve of the G-20 meeting can only be regarded as an obvious provocation, as a result of which innocent civilians and a toddler were killed. This fact should receive an appropriate assessment of the international community and the efforts for a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict should be increased. The norms of international law should begin to work, and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan should be restored as soon as possible," Dmitry Savelyev said.
On July 4, around 20:40, as the result of targeted and deliberate attacking of civilians and civilian objects of the Alkhanli village of Fizuli region of Azerbaijan by armed forces of Armenia with 82 and 120 mm mortars and heavy grenade launchers, Sahiba Guliyeva (born in 1967) and her 2 years old granddaughter Zahra Guliyeva were killed. Another civilian Sarvinaz Guliyeva (born in 1965) was wounded.
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry's spokesman noted that the responsibility for the current situation completely falls on the political-military leadership of Armenia, calling on the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs to demand from Armenia to withdraw its troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
The director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the incident will lead to a toughening of Baku's position in the negotiations. "The death of the woman and her granddaughter, of course, caused anger among the Azerbaijani population, and the Azerbaijani authorities will have to give an adequate response to this provocation. It could lead to the resumption of hostilities on the model of the April battles for Karabakh, perhaps even of a more serious scale," he expects.
The political scientist compared the actions of the Armenian Armed Forces to the Khojaly massacre. "On the one hand, it could be mutual shelling that led to the death of the Azerbaijani civilians, because only Azerbaijanis live on the contact line of the troops, while Armenians keep these occupied territories empty for future exchange. On the other hand, it could have been a purposeful action in the Khojaly style with the aim of provoking hostilities. In the conditions of frozen peace talks the resumption of battles is almost inevitable, and probably Yerevan chose the most convenient moment to start it," Sergei Markov explained.
The expert expects that the OSCE Minsk Group should react soon on the murder of civilians in Azerbaijan. "We need to expect the activation of mediators to prevent further clashes, as it is clear that the tension is increasing and the situation can slide down to full-scale military actions at any moment," the director of the Institute of Political Studies said.
The director of the Institute of Contemporary Economics Nikita Isayev, in turn, noted Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan's sense of impunity after holding the last parliamentary elections. "Sargsyan feels the strong support of the Armenian society, which was militarized as a result of militaristic rhetoric in the framework of the parliamentary elections. And as a result, Karabakh is returning to the orbit of great geopolitical tension in connection with the incompetent position of the Armenian authorities and actions that unbalance the political situation in the region," he explained.
Due to this, the peace talks reached a deadlock. "All the actions of the mediators, both on the basis of the OSCE Minsk Group and on the basis of the Geneva principles, practically do not work. Any negotiation initiatives fail. And the transition to civilian casualties is the next stage in the escalation of the conflict after killings of servicemen which are relatively regular. Until Russia and the United States, and possibly France, are not included in the active settlement of the conflict, I'm afraid that even greater escalation is just around the corner," Nikita Isaev warned.
At the same time, in his estimation, the US participation in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is unlikely now. "We could talk about Washington's participation in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement only after the adoption of basic geopolitical decisions about the relations between Russia, the United States and other major world players such as China and the European Union," the director of the Institute of Topical Economy believes.
A political analyst, Candidate of Historical Sciences Oleg Kuznetsov agreed that the death of civilians in Alkhanly will intensify the tension on the front line. "This incident will attract international attention to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It is another proof that there is a war in Nagorno-Karabakh. In the near future, there will be either a response from Azerbaijan, or, at least, more severe reaction of the Azerbaijani military to repeated shelling, up to local clashes," he predicts.
The expert recalled that the ruling regime in Armenia is able to retain power as long as tension remains on the front line. "Any fading of the conflict, any beginning of the peace talks mean the inevitable imminent political death of the ruling Kocharyan-Sargsyan clan. In order to stay in power these people will fight with Azerbaijan until the last citizen of their republic," Oleg Kuznetsov stressed.