Turkish-Russian joint peacekeeping in Karabakh ‘not on the agenda’ – Kremlin

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that details of the peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh were not specified yet, but a joint Russian-Turkish venture was not on the table, Russia’s Tass news agency reported on Wednesday.

“This is not how we understand it,” Peskov said, commenting on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement that Turkey and Russia were planning to set up a ceasefire monitoring centre in Karabakh.

“The platform for joint interaction will be in the territory of Azerbaijan. It will not be in Karabakh,” Tass cited Peskov as saying.

Peskov was unable to comment on Russian peacekeepers guarding cultural and religious sites in the region, but said the Russian military personnel would “ensure the observance of ceasefire and the cessation of all hostilities,” and that they would be deployed to the Lachin corridor.

“The operation of this traffic artery will be maintained. Other nuances are yet to be specified,” Peskov said.

On Wednesday, Erdoğan said Turkey would “join the peacekeeping forces in the (Karabakh) region to monitor the implementation of the deal with Russia,” as per a memorandum of understanding the two countries signed, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu agency reported.

Turkish media reports on Peskov’s comments include the Kremlin spokesman talking about “a joint cooperation with Turkey” to be placed on Azeri territory, however, Tass cited him as saying the monitoring centre would be “subject to a separate agreement.”

Azeri Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Leyla Abdullayeva spoke to Turkey's Demirören News Agency shortly after Peskov's statements and said Turkey would be part of the peacekeeping efforts.

“The ceasefire agreement doesn’t name any countries, which could raise questions, but Turkey will be part of the control and monitoring centre to be enacted in the region, alongside Russia,” Abdullayeva said. “It is certain that Turkey will also be in the ceasefire observation posts.”

Azerbaijan’s state-run AZERTAG agency cited Ganira Pashayeva, Azeri Parliament’s Culture Committee Chairwoman, as saying “Russian and Turkish armed forces are deployed in peacekeeping status,” and that “Turkey will also take an active part in the joint monitoring mission.”

Turkish military presence would “indicate that any action against the interest of Azerbaijan will be prevented,” Pashayeva said.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday Anadolu reported on the deployment of Russian peacekeepers starting, citing Sergei Rudskoy, chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff.

In the past 24 hours, 414 Russian military personnel and 54 vehicles, as well as “multiple” drones were delivered in Armenia, Rudskoy said, adding that Russian forces had already achieved control in the Lachin corridor and part of the road.

Rudskoy said Russia was planning 16 observation posts, and that it would be in “continuous interaction with the general staffs of the armed forces of Azerbaijan and Armenia.