Azerbaijan once again cut off Armenia’s gas supplies to Artsakh on Monday nearly two months since blockading the Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Artsakh to the rest of the world.
The Artsakh foreign ministry pointed out in a statement on Monday that this was the fifth time since the blockade began on December 12 that Azerbaijan has impeded the flow of gas from Armenia through a pipeline, which passes through territory under Azerbaijani occupation.
This latest interruption of the gas supplies is further compounding the lives of Artsakh residents who since January 10 were also cut off from regular electricity supply when a power grid malfunctioned. Azerbaijan has not allowed repair work to be carried out on the transmission line supplying electricity to Artsakh.
Artsakh authorities have initiated rolling blackouts to confront the shortages. The blockade has also contributed to severe shortages of food, medicine and other essential items.
Russia, the United States and the European Union have repeatedly urged Azerbaijan to reopen the corridor. Secretary of State Antony Blinken telephoned Aliyev for that purpose late last month. Aliyev again defended the Azerbaijanis blocking the Lachin corridor and demanding that Baku be given access to “illegal” copper mines in Karabakh.
The Artsakh Foreign Ministry on Monday called on the international community to step-up its efforts in not only urging Aliyev to end the blockade but also take “prompt measures, including activating early-warning mechanism and response to Azerbaijan’s genocidal policy.”
“As a result of Azerbaijan’s actions, 120,000 residents of the republic, including 30,000 children, continue to face serious difficulties in accessing heat and hot water in conditions of severe transport blockade and cold winter. The situation is further aggravated by the acute shortage of electricity caused by a breakdown on January 9 of the only high-voltage powerline coming from Armenia, which cannot be restored due to persistent obstruction by the Azerbaijani side,” the statement reads.
“Such actions by Azerbaijan clearly demonstrate that even after the signing of the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020, official Baku has not abandoned its long-term policy of exterminating the people of Artsakh in their historical homeland. To achieve this goal, the Azerbaijani authorities have resorted to the blockade of Artsakh and disruption of the critical energy infrastructure, thereby creating unbearable living conditions and dooming the civilian population to incredible hardships,” the Artsakh Foreign Ministry said.
“Azerbaijan’s inhumane actions indicate that the leadership of that country has placed itself above international law and human morality. By ignoring calls from many countries and international organizations for the immediate lifting of the blockade of Artsakh and the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to ensure the free movement of people and cargo through the Lachin Corridor, official Baku has in fact opposed itself to the civilized world. Such behavior became possible due to the impunity of the Baku regime, which gives it a free hand to further tighten its criminal policy against the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh,” the foreign ministry added.