Staunton, Dec. 16 – Ever since the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan at the end of the 44 Day war in 2020 agreed for Russian troops to perform the role of peacekeepers in Qarabagh, some have argued that these are illegitimate under international law because Russia is a party to the conflict as it has a base in Armenia and historically has supported Yerevan.
Most of these complaints not surprisingly have come from Azerbaijanis, with some of them even arguing that either the Russian “peacekeepers” must be balanced with units from Turkey or withdrawn altogether. Now, some in Armenia are also demanding that the Russian forces be withdrawn and be replaced with UN peacekeepers.
Given the failure of the Russian units to keep the peace and ensure that the Lachin corridor remains open. Armenians in Stepanakert and in Yerevan are demanding that the United Nations intervene and send an international contingent of peacekeepers to the region (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/384116/).
One of their number, Gegam Simonyan of Armenia’s Popular Democratic Field, says tht “only UN peacekeepers can regulate the situation and that Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and in the diaspora” should rally around this demand.” So far, official Yerevan hasn’t because, he and others say, it is penetrated by Russian agents.
Those who support this idea have been protesting in front of the Russian embassy and the UN office in the Armenian capital. Those protests continue as of this writing. What makes this interesting is that such demands could become the basis for some future agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan to have genuine peacekeepers in the region.
But there is another and more immediate possibility: Moscow is certain to promote the idea that Armenian objections, echoing as they do Azerbaijani ones, show that Russian “peacekeepers” really are neutral and thus acceptable to the international community because both sides in the conflict have objected to them.