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HomeGeopolitical CompassWest & Centeral AsiaNagorno-Karabakh in the Shadow of Ukraine

Nagorno-Karabakh in the Shadow of Ukraine

Author: Thomas de Waal

Affiliation: Senior Fellow with Carnegie Europe

Organization /Publisher: Foreign Affairs 

Date/Place: May 30, 2022/ USA

Type of Literature: Article 

Word Count: 2500



Keywords: Russia, Ukraine, Nagorno-Karabakh, EU, Peace Talk




The article discusses the impact of Russia’s war with Ukraine on the peace talks of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The author argues that Russia’s centrality to any settlement of this conflict —in what it sees as its backyard—is in doubt. However, Armenia and Azerbaijan are making progress on two major issues in the peace talks under the auspices of the EU: 1) the reopening of transport routes across closed borders, and 2) the demarcation of the official border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. A core issue of the conflict since 1988 is the future status of the Armenian population of Karabakh. But intense wrangling continues even on the terms of the debate. Although the EU has supplanted Russia as a major mediator due to the setback in Ukraine, the diminished Russian role has caused instability. It also allows Armenia and Azerbaijan to work toward it if they wish to seize a definitive and historic peace settlement. Azerbaijan feels confident because European officials have substituted Russian energy supplies with Azerbaijani gas. The author concludes with the general perception from Azerbaijan’s side, that it is possible to solve the conflict by using those tactics again—and forcing the Armenian population to leave Karabakh. It might even succeed, but this would undoubtedly lead to a new cycle of violence and deepening resentment in Armenia. Nevertheless, the mediating role of the EU gives some space to pursue a peace deal that could quickly unravel the unstable geopolitical environment.


By: Razia Wadood, CIGA Senior Research Associate 



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