February 28
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The trilateral meeting of Vladimir Putin, Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan in Sochi is significant for a couple of reasons. This is stated in the commentary of Russian political scientist Sergey Markedonov for Bunin & Co Telegram channel.

“Firstly, it was held a year after the second war in Nagorno-Karabakh, but not after the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. On the contrary, there are numerous signs that Baku and Yerevan remain far from peace to disregard those signs. The largest violation of the ceasefire was committed just ten days before the summit in Sochi.

Secondly, for the past year, Russia has strengthened its leadership as a moderator of the peace process, and both Baku and Yerevan agree with this role. Over the past year, there have been three statements. None of the mediators of the Minsk Group can boast about this many substantial documents. So, the Russia-Azerbaijan-Armenia format has pushed the OSCE aside as a negotiation platform.

Thirdly, the summit in Sochi was not in vain, even though there was no turning point in the negotiations. As a result, Putin, Aliyev and Pashinyan adopted their third joint statement.

In terms of style, it is very different from the previous two statements. It is safe to say that the first one, signed on November 10, 2020, was an urgent document that envisaged conditions for truce. The second one, signed on January 11, 2021, was focused on the unblocking of transport links.

In the new joint statement, the issue of resumption of full transport communication between the conflicting countries is already linked to the effectiveness of the Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh and the works for delimitation and demarcation of the border. This point has never been written so simply in the past. It’s clear that the border issue was pushed to the forefront in 2021 and became the most dangerous challenge for regional security. And Moscow seeks to show Baku and Yerevan and the whole world that it will be the main resource and tool to untie the knot,” he wrote.

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