For decades the conflict over the ethnic-Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan has been described as "frozen." Now, as America struggles with its own instability while much of the international community is paralyzed by the coronavirus pandemic, an active war has broken out there again with few people watching and fewer actors to reign it in. Unlike the early 1990s when two armies freshly formed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union faced off over the region, today's Azerbaijani and Armenian militaries have had decades to train and to equip themselves with the latest weapons of war. The conflict threatens to spin out of control and pull in regional powers like Russia and NATO-member Turkey, which has pledged to assist Azerbaijan in its fight by "whatever means necessary." PBS NewsHour and NewsHour Weekend jointly sent Special Correspondent Simon Ostrovsky to Karabakh to produce two pieces, one on the humanitarian consequences of the war and one on the geopolitical implications for the region as the world looks away.
And how Russia won the peace, if it can keep it.
While Armenian forces have handed territories back to Azerbaijan it may be a long time before civilians return to them safely, with hundreds of miles of frontline to de-mine and evidence of war crimes.
Ethnic Armenian forces handed over two regions to Azerbaijani control as part of a Russia-brokered armistice that ended the six-week war over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Russia won't defend Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. It's why Azerbaijan is winning the ongoing conflict.
The brutal fighting in the South Caucasus region received scant media attention. Simon Ostrovsky discusses his Pulitzer Center-supported reporting on the conflict.