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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 shattered Europe’s security architecture, with far-reaching and unpredictable implications for conflicts in neighbouring regions where Russia plays a role.

This discussion paper examines how diminished perceptions of Russia as a security actor and the decline of multilateral mediation infrastructure have left a dangerous security vacuum in the South Caucasus. It identifies three dynamics that can fill this vacuum: the European Union’ evolution into a direct mediation role, proposals for new regional formats and new bilateral dynamics among some of the region’s conflicting parties.

War in Ukraine has also further highlighted the importance of the South Caucasus as a transit zone. For connectivity to contribute to peace in the region, however, wider local participation in peace processes and a new strategic vision for the region are needed.