Toni Alaranta, a senior researcher at the Foreign Policy Institute, sees the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the South Caucasus as a matter of great concern.
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Armenian separatists living in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani forces have both carried out attacks across traditional border lines, with alleged civilian deaths on both sides of the border.
Both sides have accused each other of committing violence.
Still image from a video by the Armenian Ministry of Defense alleging that Armenian troops destroyed an Azerbaijani tanker in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Photo: AFP / Lehtikuva
Armenia-Azerbaijan has long been icy, but over the weekend the situation has tightened to the extreme.
Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, held by Armenia (in the territory of the state of Azerbaijan), already announced on Sunday a general mobilization for all men over the age of 18.
- The situation is more serious than for many years.
Now the attacks have gone further than in previous years.
When the situation is at that point, it can escalate from the smallest.
Looks bad, we're on the verge of a full war, Alaranta estimates.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh for a long time.
Soviet leader Joseph Stalin eventually annexed the region to Azerbaijan, but after the break-up of the Soviet Union, Armenia invaded Nagorno-Karabakh in 1992 and took it back for itself.
Alaranta can’t say why the conflict was on the verge of an explosion right now.
- Even a half years konfliktinen voltage range has been elevated.
Last summer there was a similar activity.
Alaranta refers to the fighting at the border between the two countries in July, in which about 20 soldiers were killed.
Toni Alaranta, a senior researcher at the Foreign Policy Institute, finds the saber-strike between Armenia and Azerbaijan worrying, although a possible wider conflict would hardly affect Finland. Photo: Martti Kainulainen / Lehtikuva
- I would assume that this includes domestic policy reasons.
Efforts are being made on both sides of the border to show the people strong leadership.
Alaranta says that the conflict will not have a direct impact on Finland, even if the tension explodes until the war.
Finland could be indirectly involved in the conflict only if the EU, Russia and Turkey, a strong player in the region, drifted into fierce disagreements about the causes, solution and consequences of the conflict.
On the other hand, the Syrian war served as an example that although the EU and Russia were “on different sides” of the conflict, there was no break.
- Now Turkey immediately announced its support for Azerbaijan, and Russia, in turn, has relations with Armenia.
If he wants to see a comforting side, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov immediately announced that he would demand a ceasefire and the return of the parties to the negotiating table.
Turkey and Russia have also already negotiated hard, Alaranta said.
The first volunteers were already recruited in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
A general mobilization of men over the age of 18 was announced in the country on Sunday. Photo: Melik Baghdasaryan / Reuters
Alaranta estimates that there would be no influx of refugees into Europe like the war in Syria, even if the tension erupted into a full-scale war.
- Military action is likely to cause refugees within countries.
Azerbaijanis living in the border region would probably apply deeper into the country, and refugees from the Nagorno-Karabakh region would be directed to Armenia.
Refugees in other countries might not be targeted, at most to some extent in Turkey and Russia, Alaranta thought.