Russia on Monday chided Azerbaijan for its unilateral decision to set up a checkpoint at the Lachin Corridor, calling Baku’s actions “inadmissible.” Meanwhile, the country’s defense ministry said that the Russian peacekeeping forces were engaged in negotiations with Azerbaijani to end the checkpoint situation.
“On April 23, 2023, as a result of unilateral and uncoordinated actions, the Azerbaijani side blocked movement through the Lachin Corridor in the territory of observation post No. 1 of Russian peacekeeping troops. The command of the peacekeeping force is conducting negotiations with the Azerbaijani side,” the Russian defense ministry said in a message on Monday.
Meanwhile the Kremlin and the Russian Foreign Ministry, both expressed the need for the complete adherence to the November 9, 2020 agreement signed between the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, which unequivocally excludes any provision on the establishment of a checkpoint at the Lachin Corridor and calls for the unimpeded movement on the road, which has been blockaded by Azerbaijan since December 12.
“Russia continues its mediation efforts, mainly the efforts for implementing all terms of the trilateral documents signed two years ago. Russia will continue to work in this direction together with Yerevan and Baku. We continue contacts. We work with the capitals, I mean with both Yerevan and Baku, and we will continue this work,” the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, according to the TASS news agency.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed serious concern over the situation in the area of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno Karabakh, the Armenian-Azerbaijani line of contact, as well as the situation in the negotiation process between official Yerevan and Baku.
“We note with extreme concern the growth of ceasefire violations and various incidents which periodically result in fatalities from both sides. We find the growth of accusatory and aggressive rhetoric in the public dimensions of Azerbaijan and Armenia to be no less dangerous,” the foreign ministry said.
“In context of the latest development of events of April 23, we especially emphasize the inadmissibility of any unilateral step which violates the main terms of the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020 between Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, regardless of whether it is about the change of the mode of operation of Lachin Corridor without agreement or the attempts to use it with purposes not corresponding to the peace agenda,” the Russian foreign ministry added.
“We believe that many of the problems are a result of the idleness and lack of progress in the negotiations process for many months in the main directions of the trilateral agreements between Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, including in unblocking of the transport connections in the region, launching the delimitation process of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and harmonizing the parameters of the peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” said Moscow.
“We hope that Baku and Yerevan will demonstrate political will and will be able to overcome that negative trend in the near future. The Russian side is ready to provide the necessary help to its [dear] Azerbaijan and Armenia, both politically and on the ground, with participation of the Russian peacekeeping contingent’s command,” the statement said.
The Russian foreign ministry statement went on to warn “external Western actors and local Russophobic elements, who work with opportunistic agenda, to refrain from attempts to escalate the situation through a campaign against Russia.”