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October 20
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Azerbaijan is carrying out a multi-step operation to undermine the reputation of the Russian peacekeeping mission. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), Davit Babayan, stated this commenting, at the request of Armenian News-NEWS.am, on the accusations of the Azerbaijani side in connection with the alleged shooting in the direction of a car.

"What happened, the Artsakh side allegedly opened fire on an Azerbaijani car, is completely disinformation, an obvious lie. The perpetrators of the incident should be sought in Azerbaijan itself. This is nothing but another staging of Azerbaijani agitprop. What do they want to achieve with that? First, as if to maintain balance. They were the ones who organized the terrorist act that led to the death of a person. It was done impudently, in the presence of Russian peacekeepers, and it is clear that Moscow could not like that. They understand that and want to ‘compensate,’ as if ‘see what the Armenian side is doing.’ Even the Azerbaijani diplomats of a number of European structures comment on the actual murder of our citizen in such a way that it gives the impression of being in the Third Reich; their explanations are nothing but a manifestation of hatred towards Armenians.

Second, with such a staged action, they are trying to put Russia in a difficult situation. In the end, it turns out that as if the [Russian] peacekeepers [in Artsakh] are not able to fulfill their responsibilities, they are poorly performing their mission, and so on. That is, this is another blow to Russia. First, they [i.e., Azerbaijanis] kill our citizen next to whom a Russian peacekeeper was sitting [in the tractor], whereas now with these staged actions they are dealing a new blow to the reputation of the Russian peacekeepers.

Besides, there is another new aspect here, and I believe that Azerbaijan will soon try to encroach on our army, to say that they are ‘terrorists’ and that they should be disarmed; such a theatrical performance. But, naturally, any lie sooner or later—and in our case, very soon—will be clear to everyone as to who is behind what. Azerbaijan's actions are another manifestation of a destructive approach, Baku's unwillingness to resume the negotiation process. It is not ruled out that in this way they want to cancel the planned visit of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs to the region, and at the same time maintain a certain degree of uneasiness and nervousness among the Karabakh society," the Artsakh FM said.

Is it possible to rule out that the next time the provocation will not be directed immediately against the Russian peacekeepers?

"Naturally, this cannot be ruled out because everything can and should be expected from the Azerbaijani side. Let us remember that it was Azerbaijan that shot down the Russian [military] helicopter, let us remember that the Russian ambassador to Turkey, the closest ally and elder brother of Azerbaijan, was killed. And in case of provocations in Karabakh, they can fully use the Turkish track-record. Anything can happen. And, apparently, when the talks on extending the mission of the Russian peacekeepers [in Artsakh] become more active, the Azerbaijanis may resort to the most impudent, inhuman steps," Davit Babayan concluded.

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