All Supplies to Artsakh are Halted
In a brazen move, a “welcome to Azerbaijan” sign was posted on Monday at the occupied Hakari River bridge ahead of the illegal checkpoint established by Azerbaijan on Sunday, which has cut off all humanitarian supply deliveries to Artsakh, according to officials.
Despite reports of ongoing negotiations between the Russian peacekeeping contingent and Azerbaijani representative, the sign reading “Attention! You are entering the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan!” was installed.
The commander of the Russian peacekeeping forces Andrey Volkov is personally engaged in the negotiations, which are heading into the third day.
In a rebuke to Baku, the Russian Defense Ministry on Monday said that, “as a result of the unilateral and not-agreed-upon actions on April 23, 2023, the Azerbaijani side has blocked traffic through the Lachin corridor in the area of the observation post of the Russian peacekeeping contingent No. 1.”
With the installation of the illegal checkpoint, Azerbaijan has effectively tightened the chokehold around the people of Artsakh, with Artsakh’s State Minister Gurgen Nersisyan reporting a stoppage of all humanitarian assistance, which was being brought in by Russian peacekeepers and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The ICRC reported that it was forced to cancel a scheduled transport of 28 patients from Artsakh to Armenia because of the checkpoint, adding that among the sick were an expectant mother whose unborn baby will need heart surgery upon being born and a nine-year-old child suffering from leukemia.
Since the Artsakh blockade began 135 day ago on December 12, the ICRC has transported 337 patents to Armenia.
Nersisyan, the Artsakh State Minister, said that the transport of rations covered by government-issued coupon has also been halted and added the government will extend the validity of the coupons beyond the specified dates.
He warned that four villages around Shushi were under the most serious threat as the checkpoint, coupled with the Azerbaijan’s breach of the line-of-contact earlier this month, have effectively cut those communities, which are currently surrounded.
The Artsakh Information Center reported late on Tuesday that due to efforts of the local administration and the Russian peacekeeping force it became possible to “somewhat restore” the supply of humanitarian goods disrupted in recent days.