A further exacerbation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict has demonstrated that Russia’s reliability as a guarantor of security for her formal allies is questionable.
The aggravation of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has had an impact beyond the region. Formally, Russia is a security partner for Armenia and Turkey – for Azerbaijan.
However, whilst Ankara provides large-scale, effective, and unconditional support to Baku, Moscow is not doing the same for Yerevan, since hostilities are taking place within the internationally recognized (including by Armenia) borders of Azerbaijan. That said, on October 14th, 2020, the Azerbaijani army confirmed strikes on Armenian territory, destroying at least one missile launcher. Earlier, Azerbaijani troops also attacked air defence systems located on the Armenian territory.
Moscow’s attempt to achieve a ceasefire diplomatically was unsuccessful. There is no evidence that Russia is providing Armenia with effective support in building its military capacities, including non-lethal systems (electronic warfare, radars, etc).
Regardless of the attitude towards Baku or Yerevan, it is impossible to disregard the fact that Russia is acting passively in respect of her formal ally, Armenia. This has confirmed Minsk’s previous concerns about Russia’s reliability as a security grantor.
On October 5th, Lukashenka ordered to expand the production of ammunition and small arms, motivating this, among other things, by the unreliability of Russia as an ally. He said that the Belarusian army could ensure the country’s defence independently. Despite the political and economic crisis, projects aimed at developing missile weapons and UAVs continue.
Recent events in the South Caucasus are likely to strengthen Minsk’s position regarding the maximum possible self-sufficiency in defence matters.