Georgian president: Nagorno-Karabakh events will change Caucasus' fate

Photo: Raigo Pajula/VPK

The events in Nagorno-Karabakh over the last week will change the future for the whole region, Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili told ERR during a visit to Estonia this week.

Zourabichvili said while Russia's ability to influence events in the Caucasus has been reduced due to the war in Ukraine, it has not stopped trying.

Speaking about the outbreak of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh that started last week, she said: "Well, first of all, it is a humanitarian tragedy and we now hope some humanitarian aid is coming through, although many of the people are leaving. And I think this is going to change completely the fate of the region because what has happened in this conflict and this first phase, early on, means that Armenia is clearly not relying anymore on Russian support and hence now the only perspective is to turn West."

Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized internationally as part of Azerbaijan but large areas of it have been controlled by ethnic Armenians for three decades. It is at the heart of one of the world's longest-running conflicts, the BBC says.

Map of the Nagorno Karabakh (Mägi-Karabahh) region. Source: Nagorno Karabakh Observer / ERR

On September 19, Azerbaijani forces made rapid advances over a 24-hour period of fighting after blockading the region for several months. The authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan then announced both sides had agreed to a ceasefire mediated by Russia.

The agreement said Karabakh's military forces would be completely disarmed and disbanded. Thousands of people from Nagorno-Karabakh have now fled to Armenia.

Regional powers Turkey and Russia have been heavily involved in the conflict over the years. Turkey backs Azerbaijan, and Russia provides security guarantees for Armenia.

Last January, Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan told journalists during a visit to Tallinn that Russian security guarantees had not worked during the last outbreak of fighting.

Zourabichvili was on a one-day visit to Tallinn on Monday. Georgia borders both Armenia and Azerbaijan.


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Editor: Mirjam Mäekivi, Helen Wright

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