Azerbaijan is convinced that the Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh are acting professionally and does not believe that Moscow is using them in an attempt to "exert pressure" on Baku or Yerevan, Hikmet Hajiyev, an adviser to the Azerbaijani president, said.
"So far we have an open dialogue and communication with the Russian peacekeepers. And they fulfill their job in a professional manner," Hajiyev told an online seminar held by the Washington-based Atlantic Council. According to him, the Russian peacekeepers are trying to keep balance and open channel of communication between the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides. "From that perspective we are satisfied," he said.
In comment on whether Russia could use its peacekeepers to put pressure on either Baku or Yerevan, he said: "No."
Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, 2020 with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them, TASS reports.
On November 9, 2020 Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting from November 10. Under the deal, Azerbaijan and Armenia maintained the positions that they had held, some of the districts were handed back to Baku, and the Russian peacekeepers were deployed along the contact line and to the Lachin corridor, which links Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.
After the Russian peacekeepers had been deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh, the situation stabilized, as just one ceasefire violation has been reported since. Tens of thousands of Karabakh residents, who fled their homes over fighting, have come back assisted by the peacekeeping contingent.