Radar Armenia‘s interlocutor is Shahan Gantaharyan, an international scholar.
– The Putin-Erdogan meeting ended, during which nothing was discussed about the region. What does this mean? Why was there no reference to the South Caucasus?
– According to the news, the agenda of the meeting included three items: grain deal, Syria, and the South Caucasus. The publications focused on the grain deal, stressing that they still need to agree. They also talked about the Caucasus but did not announce it. Currently, there is no agreement on the issues of Syria and Artsakh. The President of Syria announced that the normalization of relations with Ankara is due to the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Syrian territories. Then, Lavrov said that with the permission of Damascus, Turkey could fight against terrorism in Syria. This was a message to Ankara to do a “bazaar.” And the turning point in Artsakh, I think, is Ankara’s position in terms of extending the time of the Russian peacekeeping mission. There is no such agreement yet.
– The Minister of Defense of Cyprus announced that he is canceling the visit of the Minister of Defense of Armenia to Cyprus due to border issues. How do you interpret this? What are the messages of canceling a visit?
– The cancellation is related to the military buildup of Azerbaijan on the border of Armenia. Azerbaijan registers preconditions for escalation. This is why the visit is postponed. The circumstance of Cyprus is also noteworthy, as it recently faced such encroachments by Turkish troops in the UN peacekeeping zone. Both countries have such “neighbors” who are always ready for escalation. This cancellation also warns the international family about Azerbaijan’s preparations. Ultimately, the upcoming visit to the EU member state is canceled due to the Azerbaijani accumulation.
– The Azerbaijani side is stockpiling military equipment and weapons on the borders with NK and RA. What is the probability of a significant military escalation?
– This is a repressive measure. The incidents in the direction of Berdzor and the closure of the corridor aim to open the Akna-Stepanakert road. Even now, the gatherings and shootings in the order of the border with Armenia aim at the opening of the Nakhichevan-Azerbaijan road. Instead, these phenomena should be understood with the logic of oppression and haste.
– Armenian-American military exercises will be held. What is the significance of this military exercise from the point of view of security, and can it deter Azerbaijan’s aggression? The Russian side stated that the joint army activities of Armenia and the USA do not contribute to the stabilization of the situation in the region. Do you think Russia is worried about military exercises? What actions should we expect from Russia in this regard?
– Armenian-American military exercises should be considered part of the USA’s revitalization policy in the South Caucasus. The South Caucasus has ceased to be a purely Russian domain for some time. This worries Russia. And it is no coincidence that the possibility of deploying CSTO troops on the borders of Armenia was re-discussed along with the news about the conduct of those military exercises. This is a geopolitical competition in the region. A particular trend is visible. On the one hand, keeping the Ukrainian military front hot; on the other hand, by penetrating the Russian domains, the USA is squeezing the spheres of influence of the Russian Federation.