Erdogan expects Russian troops to leave Nagorno-Karabakh by 2025

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is confident that Russian “peacekeeping troops” will leave Nagorno-Karabakh by 2025. Mr Erdogan said this at a briefing after the NATO summit in Vilnius.

When asked by an Azerbaijani journalist about Russian troops in Nagorno-Karabakh, Erdogan said that the 2020 ceasefire agreement stipulates that Russian “peacekeepers” will be in designated locations in Nagorno-Karabakh until 2025 and will leave in 2025.

“I am convinced that Moscow will honour the agreement. My brother Ilham Aliyev is also closely monitoring the situation in the region.”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President

The November 2020 ceasefire agreement between Baku, Yerevan and Moscow stipulates that Russia’s “peacekeeping contingent” will remain in Karabakh for five years, with automatic extensions for another five years if none of the parties notifies six months before the end of the term of its intention to terminate this provision.

The Turkish president did not say so directly, but he has likely learned that one of the parties is not going to extend the presence of the Russian military in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In early June, Baku and Yerevan sent signals that the parties were approaching a peace agreement.

At the same time, the Armenian Prime Minister told Russian dictator Putin that he wanted to discuss the presence of Russian troops in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In December 2022, Armenian Prime Minister accused Russian “peacekeepers” of failing to fulfill their obligations. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Russian “peacekeepers” of blocking the Lachin corridor – the only road connecting Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh.

At that time, Azerbaijani activists and Russian forces were engaged in gunfire in the Lachin corridor, the sole route via Azerbaijan that connects Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to the Armenian side, Baku orders the Azerbaijanis to block the route. Azerbaijani government claims that its citizens are just protesting against mining by Armenians, with no plans to block the road.

The fragile peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which have fought two wars since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has been damaged by the blockade of the corridor. The European Union and the United States have urged Azerbaijan to open the vital passage.

Both sides lost hundreds of soldiers in new fighting in September 2022, and despite many violations of the 2020 truce, Armenia and Azerbaijan have not signed a lasting peace treaty.

Read also: The geopolitical price of frozen conflicts in Moldova and Azerbaijan for Russia

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