The ending of the Karabakh war 2020, which is considered the decisive stage of the long-lasting Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, with the military and political victory of Azerbaijan, resulted in the conflict going down in history.
However, various circles of some countries are trying to use the citizens of Armenian origin living in the Karabakh economic region in different ways in order to change the new geopolitical realities in the South Caucasus region or to maintain a pressure tool against the official Baku.
With the expansion of the dialogue mechanism (between the official Baku and the local population living in Karabakh), which is currently considered an important stage of the post-conflict period, the discussion of the rights and freedoms of citizens of Armenian origin, as well as some political steps aimed at undermining the reintegration process, as well as military and terrorist activities, have been observed is done.
A few months ago, Ruben Vardanyan, who came to Karabakh and called ordinary Armenian citizens to fight against Azerbaijan with separatist ideas, created the development agency "We Are Our Mountains" within the framework of cooperation with the Armenian state and international institutions. A number of projects are being implemented in Karabakh under the name of "humanitarian activity". Among the projects shared with the general public and implemented on the agency's official website, donations are being collected for the holding of the competition, which includes systematic military training and preparation, called the "Davit Bek Youth Championship".
This event called a sports competition among young people, is planned to be held among boys and girls aged 16-18 from schools operating in Khankendi. According to the given information, it is noted that the total budget of the competition, which will be held during January-May of the current year, is approximately 212 thousand US dollars. It is noted that the purpose of the event is to promote military topics among young people, ensure the preparation of young people for combat operations and form experienced combat units.
Armenian schoolgirl participating in Davit Bek's "games"
It is unacceptable to train local youth for separatist and terrorist activities under the name of military sports in the territories of Karabakh, which is considered as the sovereign territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan within the framework of international laws and norms. Collection of donations for the project carried out by the development agency "We Are Our Mountains" and supported by the separatist leadership in Karabakh and its illegal military groups with equipment, including military personnel, continues on the agency's website.
Donations can be made by bank transfer and credit card, and although the main account during this process belongs to AMERIABANK of Armenian origin, the correspondent bank for transfers in dollars (USD) is CITIBANK NA, NEW YORK, RAIFFEISEN BANK INTERNATIONAL AG, VIENNA for euros (EUR), it becomes known that RAIFFEISEN BANK, MOSCOW for ruble (RUB).
RAIFFEISEN BANK, complicit in illegal military activity
In addition, it is necessary to mention the activities of the VoMA military group, which was created in 2014 by professional Armenian soldiers, including veterans, for the purpose of training mercenary fighters in Armenia. According to the information mentioned on the official website of the grouping, it is known that ordinary citizens and Diaspora Armenians living in different countries are involved in training in military camps located in different regions of Armenia, including Karabakh.
Regional divisions of the VoMA military group
VoMA military group accepts donations to the budget of the organization through various payment systems in order to ensure the continuity of its activities. It is regrettable to note that according to the information provided on the official website of the organization, it is known that both of the above-mentioned banks also play a role in the financing process of VoMA. Thus, the intermediary bank for donations to the organization in dollars (USD) is CITIBANK NA, NEW YORK, for euros (EUR) RAIFFEISEN ZENTRALBANK OESTERREICH, and for AG rubles (RUB) PAO SBERBANK MOSCOW. Along with both western banks, SBERBANK, which is considered the most important bank of the neighboring Russian Federation, participates in the financing process.
CITIBANK NA, which is a partner in illegal military activity
VoMA military group bank details
There is enough information in open sources about the illegal military activities of Armenian mercenaries who received special military training by the VoMA military group, not only within the state borders of Armenia, but also in the territories of Karabakh. Before the war, bringing Armenian youths, even school students, to Kalbajar and other occupied territories for military training was brought to the general public by the organization.
Participation of Armenian schoolchildren in trainings held by the VoMA military group in Kalbajar
During the Second Karabakh War, the organization took part in active military operations against Azerbaijan, and the General Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan initiated a criminal case against the armed association. On the basis of the opened criminal case, the creation of an armed group not provided for in the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan, providing training to the members of the group for terrorist purposes, committing acts of terrorism in the occupied territories as part of that armed group, and also supporting the illegal regime operating under the name of "Nagorno Karabakh Republic" from the territory of Armenia. for this purpose, military action against peaceful citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan and its armed forces carrying out anti-terrorist operations has been determined. Currently, a branch of the organization operates in the city of Khankendi of the Karabakh economic region, in addition to the territories close to the Azerbaijan-Armenia conditional state borders. According to the financial report of the organization for 2021 posted on the official website of VoMA, a part of the obtained income was spent under the name of purchasing special equipment for the separatist elements in Karabakh. In the reporting year, the organization allocated the second largest amount of financial resources (about 55,000 US dollars) to Karabakh, which once again shows that illegal activities of VoMA in the territories of Azerbaijan continue.
VoMA Group spending directions in 2021
CITIBANK NA, RAIFFEISEN in the financing of separatist activities such as illegal military exercises, creation of mercenary forces and providing them with military equipment carried out by the development agency "We Are Our Mountains" and military group VoMA in the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan The indirect involvement of global foreign banks such as BANK and SBERBANK is an international crime.
Also, this activity of the mentioned banks is a violation of international compliance rules and corporate business ethics. In the territories of Karabakh under the jurisdiction of Azerbaijan, any banking activity can be carried out only on the basis of a license issued by the Central Baku of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Any banking transaction that does not comply with this condition is not only contrary to the laws of Azerbaijan but also violates the requirements of the Basel Principles, which reflect the prudential rules of the international banking system. Currently, CITIBANK NA, RAIFFEISEN BANK, and SBERBANK are participating in the financing process of both organizations whose terrorist activity is proven by open sources. Therefore, the Azerbaijani side considers the operations of the mentioned banks and all persons working together with them in Karabakh to be illegal and demands a review of their activities.