In Ukraine, Russia is widely seen as a troublemaker intent on destabilizing the government in Kyiv. But when it comes to Nagorno-Karabakh, the longest current conflict in the Caucasus, the Kremlin is expected to act as a force for restraint.
In the wake of a helicopter shoot-down incident on November 12, the Karabakh conflict finds itself at a crossroads, in which the potential for a return to full-scale warfare seems higher than at any point since the signing of a 1994 ceasefire. Azerbaijani forces downed the Armenian helicopter near the ceasefire line of contact, where both countries’ armed forces remain on high alert, and where gunfire exchanges regularly occur.
A widely held belief among Azerbaijani policymakers and political analysts is that Russia will be an important, perhaps even decisive, factor in what happens next. They note that Moscow is Armenia’s chief strategic ally and economic patron.
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