European companies’ aircraft endangered by interference from pro-Russian Karabakh enclave

A Czech Airlines aircraft, on a flight on the Budapest-Baku route, was on the verge of crashing due to radio interference when the aircraft was above the area where the Russian military contingent is stationed in the Karabakh enclave, reports.

On July 25, the actions of the pro-Russian leadership of the Armenian separatist enclave of Karabakh caused a dangerous incident, which could lead to the downing of a European aircraft.

Fortunately, the pilots could land safely, saving the passengers from catastrophe.

Aircraft of some European companies have been endangered by interference from the pro-Russian Karabakh enclave.

Interference was registered in the following cases:

The ATR-45 passenger aircraft of Azerbaijan Airlines flying on the Baku-Fuzuli route on July 24.

Passenger aircraft C-680 of the Czech Airlines company, which flew on the Budapest-Baku route on July 25.

ATR-45 passenger aircraft of Azerbaijan Airlines, which flew on the Baku-Gabala route and in the opposite direction on July 27.

Previously, as a result of the use of radio interference against the Gulfstream G280 passenger aircraft of Azerbaijan Airlines flying on the Zangilan-Fuzuli route from 11.54am to 12.07pm (GMT+4) and on the Fuzuli-Baku route from 1.02pm to 1.17pm (GMT+4) on July 13, the aircraft’s GPS navigation system failed.

The command of the Russian maintenance forces was asked for explanations regarding these facts and the same incidents that occurred previously. To date, Russian peacekeeping forces have not taken any action against these provocations, which pose a serious threat to the security of flights transiting Azerbaijan’s airspace, according to Trend News Agency.

According to the Defence Ministry, this is not the only case: Armenian separatists regularly use radio jamming against passenger aircraft flying over Azerbaijan’s airspace.

Threats to the safety of European airlines are unacceptable, especially considering that the Czech Republic is not the only country with direct flights to Azerbaijan.

Which other companies could be affected?

The list of potential victims of the Armenian-Russian conspiracy also includes airlines from Hungary, the United States, Canada, Poland, Latvia, Germany, Turkey, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

When the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended in autumn 2020, Russian troops were stationed in Karabakh, on the territory of the separatist Armenian enclave of Artsakh. To maintain its positions and influence in the South Caucasus, which are necessary to carry out such challenges, the Kremlin prevents the conclusion of peace between Baku and Yerevan.

On July 28, CNN Prima, CNN’s Czech partner, noted: “Putin aims to freeze the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan according to the scenario that Russia initiated before the aggression in Donbas, South Ossetia or Moldovan Transnistria.”

The Bulgarian publication Fakti also pointed out that this seems the only way for Russia to maintain its position and military presence in the region.

Given the Russian Federation’s destructive role in the region and concerns about airline safety, the influential American publication The Hill called in January 2023 for Washington and its NATO and EU allies to mobilize international support to replace Russian troops of Karabakh and to help conclude a lasting peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

(Photo: Sefjo, via Wikimedia Commons)

Nikolay Marchenko

Niklay Marchenko is deputy editor-in-chief of and a contributor to Kapital. He is also the author of the Russian-language online versions of the international publications The Insider and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, OCCRP. He formerly was the correspondent for Russia's Kommersant in Bulgaria, and has worked for Sega, among other publications, in Bulgaria, Moldova and Russia.