(Moscow) Russia on Monday expressed its “ serious concern ” after a new outbreak of tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan linked to the installation by Baku of a checkpoint on a disputed axis, an “ unacceptable ” measure for Moscow, which is seeing its regional influence decline.

On Sunday, Azerbaijan announced that it had installed a checkpoint at the entrance to the Lachin corridor, the only road linking Armenia to the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh, a first since agreements signed in 2020 under the aegis of Moscow after a short war won by Baku.

“We express our serious concern about the situation”, declared the Russian Foreign Ministry, deeming “unacceptable […] any unilateral measure in violation” with the 2020 tripartite agreements.

“We call on the parties to immediately return to existing agreements”, he added in a press release, deploring “the danger” caused by the “increased degree of accusatory and aggressive rhetoric” on both sides.

Baku claimed to have set up this checkpoint to “prevent the illegal transport of manpower, weapons and mines from the territory of Armenia for the illegal formations of Armenian bandits in the territory of Armenia. Azerbaijan”.

The Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced “ a new provocation ” with “ false and baseless pretexts ”.

A mountainous region mainly populated by Armenians and having seceded from Azerbaijan at the collapse of the Soviet Union, Nagorny Karabakh continues to poison relations between Yerevan and Baku.

On Monday, Moscow also considered “ worrying ” the “ increase in the number of ceasefire violations and various incidents ” in the border areas between Azerbaijan and Armenia, “ which regularly claim victims of both sides”.

For his part, the spokesperson for the Russian presidency, Dmitry Peskov, told the press that “ Russia is continuing its mediation efforts ”.

“ The situation is not simple. It requires additional efforts, and above all, it asks the (two) countries to understand that there is no alternative to the implementation of the said 2020 agreement,” he claimed.

Since 2020, Russia has ensured a peacekeeping mission between the two countries. But while Moscow is monopolized by its military offensive in Ukraine, tensions have continued to flare in Karabakh.

According to Russian diplomacy, the current tensions between Baku and Yerevan are due in particular to “ the lack of progress in the process of negotiations ” towards a peace agreement between Baku and Yerevan, three years after a short war which left 6,500 dead.

In recent months, Russia, but also the European Union and the United States, have in turn tried to relaunch complicated negotiations between the two countries, without success at this stage.