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Nagorno-Karabakh Take 3: Is A New War Coming?

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The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh appears to be steadily and gradually nearing another escalation.

On May 31st, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense claimed that an Armenian UAV had been intercepted in the Kalbajar border region.

It was a Griphon-12 drone, which is a multifunctional Russian-made UAV, intended for civilian use.

It is aimed at conducting special reconnaissance work, observation and monitoring flights, as well as patrol operations.

Prior to the UAV incident, the Azerbaijani Minister of Defense Colonel General Zakir Hasanov held an official meeting with chief military commanders, with regard to Armenia’s alleged “provocations” in recent days.

The Defense Minister instructed the command of the military units stationed in the liberated territories to take decisive steps and urgent actions to suppress any enemy provocations.

Just days earlier, on May 28th, an Azerbaijani soldier was reportedly wounded by Armenian artillery shelling on the border with the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic. His life was not in danger.

On the day before, six Armenian soldiers were captured, after allegedly trying to cross the border in the reigon of Gegarkunik.

The Armenian side claimed that its servicemen were arrested by the Azerbaijani army while carrying out repair works on a checkpoint and had little to do with crossing the border.

The most recent casualty in the standoff is a 32-year-old contract soldier who was killed as a result of a shootout with Azerbaijani military servicemen at the border near the village of Verin Shorzha.

It is highly likely that another confrontation is coming in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan evidently has the upper hand, as it has the military capability to take over the entirety of the region, it could easily move troops into Stepanakert.

Russia appears unwilling to take a more assertive stance, with just a small number of peacekeepers carrying out their duties at checkpoints.

Meanwhile, on June 3, the 13th meeting of the Azerbaijani-Turkish High-Level Military Dialogue will start its work in Baku.

The meeting will discuss the current state of bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey in the security, military, military-technical, military-medical, military-educational, defense industry, and in other spheres.

New weapons sales, planned exercises and more are expected.

Turkey would also be more than willing to assist Azerbaijan in its potential renewed offensive.

In Armenia, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan remains in power, leading the country mostly through Facebook.

The early parliamentary elections will take place on June 20th, but without stable leadership in the country this provides a suitable chance for Baku to move forward.

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