Russian Colonel General To Lead Peacekeeping Mission In Karabakh

Friday 28 April 2023 - 13:45

Azerbaijan Republic and Armenia have been trying for a long time to put pressure on peacekeeping forces of the Russian Federation through violating ceasefire, blocking Lachin Corridor and besiege Armenian nationals living in the Nagorno-Karabakh region; so, the Russian government has decided to dispatch another commander to the region in order to put in order the situation there.

Armenia’s Hraparak daily, the media outlet affiliated to the opposition of the government in Yerevan, has reported a shocking news story for the Azerbaijan Republic. According to the newspaper, the Russian government has made a decision to replace Major General Andrey Volkov, who was the Commander of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh, and recall him to capital Moscow.

The new commander of the peacekeeping forces is a skillful lieutenant general, who took part in Russia’s wars. He is considered as a competent military commander among the staff of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. He is trusted by Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Sergei Shoigu, and is cooperating with the minister for a long period. The new commander comes to organize the circumstances and Volkov is getting ready to leave Nagorno-Karabakh in the coming days.

The news story of the Armenian daily has been published on the prominent website of Sputnik, which is the media outlet of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

Andrey Volkov, the former commander of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Karabakh

New commander of Karabakh peacekeeping forces

The skillful military commander is named Colonel General Alexander Ivanovich Lentsov, who is also an advisor to the current minister of defense in Russia. Lentsov played the roles of being a member of military service as well as commanding Russian wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia and Syria.

The colonel general was deputy commander of the Russian air forces from 2009 to 2013 and he served from 2013 to 2020 as deputy commander of the Russian Ground Forces. He was promoted to Lieutenant General in 2011 and Colonel General in 2014. Since 2020, he has served as an advisor to the Minister of Defense. On April 25, Lentsov was appointed commander of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Alexander Lentsov, the new commander of the Russian peacekeeping forces in Karabakh

The speculations on the 4th commander

Colonel General Alexander Ivanovich Lentsov is the fourth commander of the Russian peacekeeping contingent, which has been deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh region since 2020 up to now. Prior to the commander, three lieutenant generals named Rustam Muradov, Gennady Anashkin and Andrey Volkov have not been so much successful in carrying out their mission to implement truce in Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The Russian government is determined to use the powerful commander with the aim of force all sides to implement the provisions of the tripartite Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire agreement, which was signed in Moscow on November 9, 2020, and regain the Russians’ lost influence in the region following the blockage of Lachin Corridor, a mountain road that links Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The challenges of Volkov’s tenure

Major General Andrey Volkov’s tenure as commander has been full of tension. He could not get in the way of the violation of ceasefire as well as military advances by Azerbaijan’s armed forces in eastern, western and southwestern lines of contact, where he was tasked to observe the peacekeeping mission.

The major challenge during his tenure was the gatherings by environmental activists, who are supporters of Azerbaijan Republic’s President Ilham Aliyev, as well as the closure of Lachin Corridor in Shusha, the advances by Azerbaijan’s armed forces, the blockage of roads to alternative routes under the pretext of fighting arms smuggling, and the construction of a checkpoint in borderline with Armenia, which is located in the start of the path to the Lachin Corridor.

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