The Artsakh Foreign Ministry on Monday warned of an impending water shortage in the country resulting from the drastic decline in the levels of the Sarsang Reservoir, accusing Azerbaijan of orchestrating an environmental disaster by deliberately manipulating and draining the water level of Artsakh’s main water supply.
“By creating prerequisites for the draining of the Sarsang reservoir and provoking an environmental disaster, the Azerbaijani authorities are pursuing several goals, including creating unbearable living conditions in Artsakh and preparing the ground for accusing residents of wasteful use of water supplies as a pretext for new military provocations,” the Artsakh Foreign Ministry said.
The Artsakh authorities said that Azerbaijan’s decision to not allow the repair of a damaged electrical grid on the Aghavno-Berdzor section of the Lachin Corridor and thus preventing high-voltage electricity from entering Artsakh, the hydroelectric plant on the Sarsang Reservoir was forced to operate at full capacity in order to meet the needs of the Artsakh population.
To operate the hydroelectric plants, an unprecedented amount of water was released from the reservoir to generate electricity in winter.
Below is the text of the Artsakh foreign ministry’s statement.
For almost five months now, the Republic of Artsakh has been under siege, accompanied by an unlawful transport and energy blockade, as one of the main instruments of the ethnic cleansing policy consistently and systematically pursued by Azerbaijan at the state level. As part of this policy, the Azerbaijani authorities are trying not only to create unbearable socio-economic conditions, but also artificially provoke an environmental disaster and undermine the foundations of sustainable development of Artsakh.
In particular, Azerbaijan is still preventing the repair of the damaged Aghavno-Berdzor section of the only high-voltage power line running from Armenia to Artsakh. To deepen the energy crisis, Azerbaijan has also regularly disrupted the supply of natural gas from Armenia to Artsakh. It has been two months since the last cut off. As a result, the hydroelectric power plant on the Sarsang reservoir became the only means to mitigate the energy crisis, however, the continued Azerbaijani policy of siege and energy blockade resulted in the release of an unprecedented amount of water from the reservoir to generate the electricity needed for the besieged population of Artsakh during the cold winter period.
The authorities of Artsakh have repeatedly drawn the attention of the international community to the fact that the continued deliberate obstruction by Azerbaijan of natural gas and electricity supply from Armenia to Artsakh will lead to disastrous consequences, in particular for the Sarsang reservoir, which is the largest and most critically important source of freshwater in Artsakh. The depletion of the Sarsang reservoir will have serious environmental consequences for the entire ecosystem of the region, and will deprive the population of both Artsakh and some regions of Azerbaijan of water resources necessary for normal life activity.
By creating prerequisites for the draining of the Sarsang reservoir and provoking an environmental disaster, the Azerbaijani authorities are pursuing several goals, including creating unbearable living conditions in Artsakh and preparing the ground for accusing residents of wasteful use of water supplies as a pretext for new military provocations.
We emphasize again that due to the ongoing unlawful and aggressive actions of Azerbaijan, the humanitarian situation in the Republic of Artsakh and the overall military-political situation in the region are rapidly deteriorating. In the current extremely dangerous situation, we consider it absolutely necessary to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the Trilateral Statement of 9 November 2020, as well as the immediate and resolute intervention of the international community and, first of all, the UN Security Council, to prevent the continuation of massive and systematic violations of human rights in Artsakh and to stop the criminal plans and genocidal intentions of Azerbaijan.