In response to the 12 November downing of a Nagorno-Karabakh army helicopter by an Azerbaijani frontline unit, the RSC released its latest “Nagorno-Karabakh Situational Assessment” on 17 November. The three page assessment warned that the shoot down of the Mi-24 combat helicopter marked a fresh escalation of tension, only enhanced by an earlier surge in fighting in August that was the most serious since the May 1994 ceasefire. The RSC report further noted that the repercussions from this one incident are even more significant, however, with broader implications, ranging from the military situation to the peace process itself.
In a new publication released on 29 July by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), RSC Director Richard Giragosian assessed recent developments in Armenia-EU relations. The ECFR publication, entitled “Protecting the European Choice,” was edited by Andrew Wilson and included s series of case studies on Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia and Moldova. Each analysis offered a unique assessment of “Russian pressure,” which the authors found to be “often self-defeating,” and articulated specific policy recommendations for the EU in crafting a new strategy towards Russia and the periphery.
As part of its series of early warning alerts, the RSC released a brief “situational assessment” on March 13, 2014 offering concise analysis of reports of unusual troop movements in Azerbaijan, triggering concern in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh over a possible attack by Azerbaijani forces. The RSC Situational Assessment noted that “while some sources in Azerbaijan have confirmed these developments as part of a long-planned military exercise, other sources argue that the new, more assertive force posture may be in preparation for a new Azerbaijani incursion or reconnaissance probe of Armenian & Karabakh defensive positions.”
In a surprise development, on September 3, 2013, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian announced a dramatic “U-turn” in Armenian policy. While in Moscow, after being summoned to a meeting with his Russian counterpart, the Armenian president promised Russian officials that Armenia would join the Russian-led “Customs Union,” and would support Moscow’s efforts to “integrate” the former Soviet space. That decision effectively ended Armenia’s planned “initializing” of an Association Agreement and related Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the European Union set for the Vilnius Summit in late November 2013.
The European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs recently released a report from a joint meeting on September 18, 2013 focusing on “Turkey-Armenia Relations.” The meeting included an “exchange of views” and “the presentation of a joint report on relations between Turkey and Armenia” by Richard Giragosian (Armenia) and Cengiz Aktar (Turkey).