Azerbaijan attacks Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijani troops launched an attack on the Nagorno-Karabakh region on Tuesday. The regional capital Stepanakert and other towns were bombed. According to Nagorno-Karabakh’s Premanent Representation in Armenia, at least 27 people were killed and hundreds injured. Europe’s press voices deep concern about the fate of the predominantly Armenian enclave on Azerbaijani territory, which considers itself independent.

La Stampa (IT) /

Abandoned by Russia

Putin has broken his promise, La Stampa notes:

“Although Putin has declared himself the defender of the Christian Orthodox civilisation, Russia has practically abandoned the enclave. It maintains a contingent of peacekeepers there, but for three months it has done little to nothing about the blockade imposed by Baku, which cut off the only access route to the region, the Lachin Corridor, in a move that is alarmingly reminiscent of the Danzig Corridor and has triggered an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. ... Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan recognised — probably too late — the tsar’s change of heart, who is now more interested in maintaining good relations with Turkey than in saving his fellow believers.”

Giordano Stabile
Der Standard (AT) /

Crushed between geopolitical interests

Der Standard comments:

“On the one hand, Russia is tied up militarily in Ukraine. On the other, it doesn’t want to get on the wrong side of Turkey, Azerbaijan’s protecting power. For Russia, Turkey is an important partner, the country does not support the West’s sanctions in the Ukraine war and many sanctioned goods enter the country via Turkey. Once again, Nagorno-Karabakh, and perhaps even Armenia, is being crushed between all kinds of global political interests. It is likely that the West will confine itself to warm words here and condemnations there. For unlike Ukraine, Armenia is uninteresting both geostrategically and economically.”

Jo Angerer
Avvenire (IT) /

Left in the lurch

Avvenire complains:

“The 2,000 peacekeepers mobilised by Russia were unable to prevent the Azerbaijani side from closing the Lachin Corridor, nor were they able to reopen it when Armenians were facing starvation. Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan then turned to the US. ... But it’s hard to see why the Americans should go against a historical ally like Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Nato ally Turkey. Europe is also unwilling to budge. The High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell has ruled out sanctions against Azerbaijan, and it’s easy to see why: having closed the doors to Russian gas, we asked the Azerbaijanis to supply us with 20 billion cubic metres per year instead of the usual 8. Can we afford to get on Aliyev’s bad side?”

Fulvio Scaglione
Večernji list (HR) /

Moscow’s influence is dwindling

Russia is losing control of those areas on the edge of its sphere of influence, observes Večernji list:

“Russia said yesterday it was concerned by the ‘serious escalation’. But the Azerbaijanis don’t care, they have a strong ally behind them — Turkey. ... Apart from the Caucasus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, two supposed allies and partners of Russia, are arming themselves for the possibility of new border conflicts that erupt periodically. In Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, Chinese influence is growing, while in several post-Soviet states Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is becoming increasingly popular. All contrary to the interests of Putin’s Russia, but the latter is completely focused on the existential struggle with Ukraine.”

Dino Brumec
Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

The West should also be worried about Armenia

Rzeczpospolita on the other hand fears that Russia could exploit growing instability in Armenia:

“There are many indications that the fate not only of Nagorno-Karabakh but also of Armenia will be at stake in the coming days. If the demonstrators succeed in toppling Pashinyan and there is a clash between the Armenian armed forces and Azerbaijan, the country’s sovereignty would be threatened and intervention by Russia (which maintains a military base there) would be likely. ... The democratically elected Pashinyan government in Yerevan, which has recently been seeking rapprochement with the West, would then be replaced by pro-Russian forces. Now everything will depend on how the leaders of the Western powers behave.”

Rusłan Szoszyn
Le Figaro (FR) /

Paris lacks the will to help

Le Figaro publishes an open letter by philosopher Pascal Bruckner to French President Macron:

“In view of the current events, we are disappointed by your extraordinary inaction. ... France is not isolated, not helpless, not powerless: it can already appeal to the Security Council to obtain a condemnation of Azerbaijan and send it a formal notice to allow free access to Nagorno-Karabakh — under threat of using armed force if necessary. France could and should have done this already in the summer. It can also help to have this country banned from the Council of Europe, demand international protection for Nagorno-Karabakh and set up an airlift together with other European countries. ... The means are there, what is missing is the will.”

Pascal Bruckner