What are the risks? Some 30,000 people have been killed in the fighting since 1988, and dozens have been killed and hundreds more injured since the beginning of the week. Olesia Vertanyan, a senior expert at Crisis Group, said the fighting was taking place throughout the front line. According to her, the use of rockets and artillery increases the risk of harm to civilians, so it will be difficult to stop the escalation by diplomatic means. This could drag Russia, its defense alliance with Armenia and military forces there, and Turkey, into the conflict. The southern Caucasus province is an important corridor for oil and gas transmission.
How can the fighting be stopped? Russia, which also has good relations with Azerbaijan, apparently holds the key to halting hostilities. If it succeeds in leading to a ceasefire, it will help it in a period of growing criticism of it on other fronts, including its support for Belarus and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken at least twice with Armenian Prime Minister Nicole Faschian since Sunday, but it is unclear whether he tried to talk to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Today, the UN Security Council will convene to discuss the crisis.
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