August 21, 2020 - 11:47 AMT
Lavrov: Armenia's decision to revive checkpoint 15 km from Azeri pipelines caused border escalation

The decision of the Armenian side to revive an old border checkpoint, located 15 km from the Azerbaijani export pipelines, caused an escalation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said in an interview with Trud newspaper.

According to him, a complex of reasons led to the conflict, including "overheating of the public space" on both sides of the border.

"The geographical factor also served as a kind of trigger: the decision of the Armenian side to revive an old border checkpoint located 15 km from the Azerbaijani export pipelines caused anxiety among some, an unreasonable response from others and, a flywheel of confrontation with the most unpredictable consequences began as a result," Lavrov said.

Lavrov noted that the border conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in mid-July was the second large-scale violation of the 1994 ceasefire agreement. The Russian foreign policy chief reminded that for the first time in the past 26 years clashes involving field artillery, mortars and attack drones took place not on the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh, but on the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

According to Lavrov, Russia and her partners in the OSCE Minsk Group are working on the earliest resumption of negotiations on the Karabakh settlement.

The situation on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan escalated on July 12, with Azerbaijan launching several unsuccessful infiltration attempts throughout the next week. The Azerbaijani military also used artillery and combat drones to target civilian homes in several border settlements in Armenia. Five servicemen of the Armenian army were killed, while Azerbaijan reported 12 deaths. In recent weeks, though, the situation has been relatively calm.