Tension over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh could devolve into a large- scale military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which could draw in Russia to support its regional ally, says the report published by U.S. intelligence.
Daniel Coats, director of U.S. National Intelligence, has published Worldwide Threat Assessment which contains 2018 assessment of threats to US national security.
“Both sides’ reluctance to compromise, mounting domestic pressures, Azerbaijan’s steady military modernization, and Armenia’s acquisition of new Russian equipment sustain the risk of large-scale hostilities in 2018,” says the report.
The report says the Kremlin will seek to maintain and, where possible, expand its influence throughout the former Soviet countries that it asserts are in its self-described sphere of influence.
“In his probable next term in office, President Vladimir Putin will rely on assertive and opportunistic foreign policies to shape outcomes beyond Russia’s borders. He will also resort to more authoritarian tactics to maintain control amid challenges to his rule,” the document says.
According to the U.S. Intelligence, Russia’s efforts to undermine Georgia’s Western integration will remain the primary sources of Tbilisi’s insecurity. Russia will also seek to spoil any potential warming between Belarus and the West.
As to Ukraine, Coats believes Ukraine remains at risk of domestic turmoil, which Russia could exploit to undermine Kyiv’s pro-West orientation.
Meanwhile, the European Union and European national governments will struggle to develop common approaches to counter a variety of security challenges, including instability on their periphery, irregular migration to their region, heightened terrorist threats, and Russian influence campaigns, undercutting Western cohesion.