On December 12, 2022 at 10:30 a.m., a group of Azerbaijanis claiming to be environmental activists blocked the Lachin Corridor linking Armenia with Artsakh, effectively isolating the 120,000-strong population of Artsakh. Hundreds of civilian vehicles were stranded on the Shushi-Karin Tak intersection, where the Azerbaijanis had blocked the road. Over 1000 people, including 270 children who were in Armenia participating in a number of events, are unable to return home to Artsakh. On the evening of December 13, Azerbaijan also cut off the natural gas supply to the Republic which was later restored.
A similar incident happened on December 3 when Azerbaijanis in civilian clothing shut down the highway, which opened three hours later following negotiations with the Russian peacekeepers.
As the Lachin Corridor continues to be blocked, we will be providing live updates on the situation as it unfolds.
January 30, 2023
11:08 am.: On January 29, the International Committee of the Red Cross facilitated the transfer of 19 people from Artsakh to Armenia for reunification.
January 29, 2023
6:30 p.m.: Pope Francis renewed his appeal for the “grave humanitarian situation in the Lachin Corridor in the South Caucasus.” He said: “I am close to all those who, in the dead of winter, are forced to cope with these inhumane conditions. Every effort must be made at the international level to find peaceful solutions for the good of people.”
10:41 a.m.: The NKR InfoCenter reports that the gas supply has been fully restored in Artsakh. It was completely cut off again the day before. If the gas supply continues uninterrupted schools will resume classes starting January 30.
January 28, 2023
12:04 a.m.: Dunja Mijatovic, Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights tweeted: “The present situation shows once more the importance of ensuring free and unhindered access of humanitarian assistance and international human rights missions to all areas and people, including those residing in Nagorno-Karabakh.” She also called on “the relevant authorities” to “come up with effective and flexible modalities of access enabling all relevant actors, including my Office, to reach out to those in need of humanitarian assistance and human rights protection as a matter of priority.”
January 27, 2023
6 p.m.: 15 children were transferred from Armenia to Artsakh, facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The children had come to Armenia to see the Junior Eurovision song contest which took place in Yerevan in the beginning of December. No incidents happened during the transfer.
11:32 a.m.: The Argentinian embassy in Armenia “expressed its concern about the humanitarian situation in the Lachin Corridor and pointed out the need to guarantee the freedom of movement and the human rights of the populations. Argentina stresses the protection of human rights and peaceful settlement of disputes.”
January 26, 2023
8 p.m.: The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) debates the humanitarian consequences of the blockade of the Lachin Corridor. Furthermore, in its resolution on the progress of member states under monitoring in 2022, PACE “takes note of the most recent urgent notice of the European Court of Human Rights sent to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe calling for the monitoring of Azerbaijan’s implementation of its decision of 21 December 2022 regarding the Lachin Corridor, and calls for the immediate and full implementation of the interim measures decided by the Court.”
5:08 p.m.: The Foreign & EU Affairs Committee of the Senate of Poland unanimously adopts a resolution calling Azerbaijan to immediately unblock the Lachin Corridor without preconditions and guarantee security and protection of the rights of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh.
3:07 p.m.: The NKR InfoCenter reports that the gas supply has been fully restored in Stepanakert. Because Azerbaijan has only partially restored the gas supply to Artsakh, the authorities decided to cut off the gas supply gas for the remaining regions because of high pressure on the energy infrastructure.
1:08 a.m.: Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development convened two separate meetings on Azerbaijan’s ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor. For the first time, state representatives of Artsakh were given the opportunity to appear in front of the Canadian Parliament and make the case for Artsakh Armenians.
During the first hearing Artsakh’s Permanent Representative to the U.S. and Canada, Robert Avetisyan and Human Rights Defender, Gegham Stepanyan, presented committee members with facts from the ground related to the grave humanitarian consequences and the geopolitical implications of Azerbaijan’s policy of aggression as well their policy priorities and vision for a free and independent Artsakh. The Armenian National Committee of Canada’s Co-President Shahen Mirakian and Lecturer at Sciences Po, École de l’Air Taline Papazian also gave testimonies during the hearing.
The second meeting of the committee heard from Olesya Vardanyan, Senior South Caucasus Analyst at the International Crisis Group, as well as Professor Christopher Waters, Professor of Law at the University of Windsor. Both witnesses shared grounded information on the ongoing situation in Artsakh, calling for an end to Azerbaijan’s destabilizing efforts and for increased international pressure to find a fair and permanent resolution to the conflict.
January 25, 2023
9:51 p.m.: In Brussels, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan discussed the blockade of the Lachin Corridor with Toivo Klaar, the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, and Magdalena Grono, the Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the President of the European Council.
8:41 p.m.: Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan discussed the blockade of the Lachin Corridor with Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in Brussels. Borrell tweeted: “Need to avoid a humanitarian crisis.”
5:48 p.m.: The NKR InfoCenter reports that the gas supply has been partially restored in Artsakh, as a result of which gas stations started operating again in Stepanakert.
12 p.m.: The UK Parliament held a special discussion dedicated to the blockade of the Lachin Corridor and its humanitarian consequences. Tim Loughton, the head of the Armenia-United Kingdom Parliamentary Friendship group pointed out that Azerbaijan “is now clearly intent on waging illegal, immoral and inhumane suffering on the Armenian population of this troubled corner of south-east Europe that borders Asia. That military conflict, and now humanitarian crisis, has gone largely unnoticed and unremarked on by the west—especially western media—and, regretfully, partly by our United Kingdom Government.”
He also noted that many of the so-called environmental protesters have been identified as members of the Azerbaijani military with Government backing. “Some of them are members of the Grey Wolves, an extreme fascist group. They have been brought in by the Azeri state, and their transportation and stay are paid for by the Azeri Government,” Loughton said.
In conclusion he stated that the humanitarian crisis is worsening in Nagorno-Karabakh day-by-day, describing all the hardships that the population of Artsakh is facing.
Other British parliamentarians joined Loughton in condemning Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin Corridor asking the UK Government to do all they can to help with their diplomatic levers. Some urged the UK government to use the economic leverage it has on Azerbaijan.
12:57 a.m.: Artsakh’s National Security Service informs that Azerbaijani special services have been disseminating fake documents about the evacuation of the population of Stepanakert. According to the NSS, Azerbaijan is using Facebook to spread disinformation. Artsakh authorities call on the population to remain calm and not to give in to fake news.
January 24, 2023
11:30 p.m.: At a press briefing, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the United States is concerned that the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is worsening. “Ongoing obstruction of normal commercial and private travel along the Lachin corridor is causing shortages of food, fuel, and medicine for the residents who depend on the corridor for those very basic supplies. Periodic disruptions to natural gas and other basic utilities exacerbate the worsening humanitarian situation,” Price said.
He added that the U.S. calls “for the full restoration of free movement through the corridor, including commercial and private travel. We believe we need a solution to this impasse that will ensure the safety and well-being of the population living in the area, and we believe the way forward is, as I said before, through negotiations. We remain committed to supporting a lasting peace.”
10:29 p.m.: Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan addressed the blockade of the Lachin Corridor during a discussion arranged on the request of Armenia at the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) of the European Parliament. He made the following remarks:
“At this very moment, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh remain under inhumane siege because of the blockade of the Lachin Corridor – the lifeline, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.
“There is one aspect that I would like to emphasize: it is not an isolated episode but must be seen as part of a widespread and systematic policy of Azerbaijan aimed at the ethnic cleansing of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. By creating unbearable living conditions, Azerbaijan aims to coerce the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to leave their homes and native land. The recent statement of the President of Azerbaijan suggesting the deportation of those Armenians who do not want to become citizens of Azerbaijan comes to prove once again their intention of ethnic cleansing.
“As the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh is worsening with each passing day, the immediate intervention of the international community is required. As indicated in the EP urgency resolution last week, it is imperative to send an international fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin Corridor to assess the humanitarian situation on the ground, as well as to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to Nagorno-Karabakh for relevant UN bodies.
“We cannot stand by and watch how people are slowly starving to death, because of political games and perhaps geopolitical considerations. Let me put it straight: there are two theoretical options for lifting the blockade of the Lachin corridor: military or diplomatic. Armenia adheres to the second option, but that’s possible only with a decisive intervention and strong pressure on Azerbaijan and tangible actions towards that end by the international community. The time to act is now. Azerbaijan should face consequences for its actions. It should be explained to Azerbaijan that there are certain international rules to which everybody has to abide.”
8 p.m.: The Russian Defense Ministry states in its daily communique regarding the activities of the Russian peacekeeping mission in Artsakh that a convoy of the Russian peacekeeping contingent with humanitarian cargo was escorted through the Lachin Corridor to Stepanakert.
5:56 p.m.: As a result of the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, 100 tons of food donated by the All Armenia Fund as part of the emergency humanitarian support program for Artsakh are currently held up in Goris and cannot be delivered to Stepanakert.
Negotiations are underway with the command of the Russian peacekeeping forces to deliver the humanitarian cargo to Artsakh. If the delivery becomes possible, the food will be distributed free of charge to socially vulnerable groups.
5:43 p.m.: Starting January 25, rolling blackouts will occur in Artsakh three times a day for two hours each time.
2:43 p.m.: Asked whether the Kremlin agreed with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s call on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to immediately unblock the Lachin Corridor, Kremlin spokesperson Dimitry Peskov stated: “Russia, as a party to the trilateral agreements and documents signed two years ago, continues to fulfill its obligations and continues the very painstaking and difficult work with Armenia and Azerbaijan.”
2:07 p.m.: UNFPA issued a statement on the situation in the Lachin Corridor echoing the appeal of the UN Secretary-General for de-escalation of tensions and for ensuring freedom and security of movement along the Lachin corridor, in line with previously reached agreements.
According to the organization, this is critical to ensure that the basic needs of the affected population, including women and girls, young people, people with disabilities and older persons, are met.
“Freedom and security of movement along the corridor are vital for securing continued access to essential sexual and reproductive health supplies and services, and for ensuring that women can give birth safely. UNFPA stands ready to work with all parties, in accordance with humanitarian principles, to ensure women and girls, as well as other vulnerable people, have access to essential supplies and services,” the statement says.
12:23 p.m.: The NKR InfoCenter reports that gas stations in Stepanakert and other regions of Artsakh will suspend operations. Natural gas supply from Armenia to Artsakh continues to remain cut off by Azerbaijan. Thanks to the accumulation of gas in the pipelines, in recent days, it has been possible to provide natural gas to healthcare institutions, bakeries, and gas stations.
However, taking into account the queues at gas stations and the limited volume of gas, it was decided that the accumulated gas will now be provided only to healthcare institutions and vital facilities. Gas stations will close until gas supply is restored. In order to ensure the smooth operation of public services and organizations, gasoline or diesel fuel will be provided for the vehicles of the these organizations.
11:04 a.m.: The NKR InfoCenter informs that banks in Artsakh will service cards of other banks in Artsakh without charging a commission, and in case it is technically impossible, the commission charged will be returned to the cardholder the day after the transaction.
January 23, 2023
10:59 p.m.: Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, on a working visit in Brussels, had a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Mirzoyan briefed him on the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh resulting from the blockade. He emphasized the importance of the international community’s clear actions towards ending the inhumane blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh and bringing the Azerbaijani side back to the negotiating table.
8:52 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke on the phone with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev to “urge an immediate reopening of the Lachin corridor to commercial traffic.” Blinken underscored that the risk of a humanitarian crisis in the Lachin corridor undermined prospects for peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. He encouraged President Aliyev to redouble efforts in bilateral peace discussions with Armenia. He also raised human rights concerns in Azerbaijan.
4:35 p.m.: OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Special Representative on South Caucasus urges resumption of dialogue to address the situation on the Lachin Corridor. The press office of the OSCE PA issued the following statement:
“Alarmed by the ongoing developments in the Lachin corridor, Vice-President Pere Joan Pons (Spain), OSCE PA Special Representative on South Caucasus, expressed concern over the humanitarian impact on the lives of local Armenian residents in the region and calls for the resumption of a constructive dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“I have been closely following the reports regarding ongoing developments surrounding the Lachin corridor and I am highly concerned over the reported impact on the daily lives of the local residents in the area, as the access to essential goods and services has been limited now for several weeks. While I commend the efforts, particularly of the ICRC, in alleviating the effects of the ongoing protest on the Lachin road, I appeal to all sides to intensify their efforts in ensuring that the situation is addressed in a swift manner,” Pons said.
Vice-President Pons also echoed OSCE Chairman-in-Office Bujar Osmani in his call upon all sides to ease tensions and engage in a constructive and productive dialogue, aimed at building trust and normalizing relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“Whenever political disagreements persist and negotiations might be at a deadlock, our governments should not be callous and resort to methods that leave our citizens victim to our inability to reach political consensus,” Pons stressed. “We should also remember that the longer this dispute remains unresolved, that it does not just negatively impact the fragile peace process, but also undermines the foundation for a future peaceful coexistence in the region.”
The Special Representative recalled that with the OSCE, the tools to overcome the current crisis are available, yet it is up to the sides to make a full use of them, as well as to other governments and parliaments, to support this process in an unbiased manner and ensure the advancement of constructive negotiations, based on the principles of the Helsinki Final Act. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly stands ready to support this process, Pons underlined, wherever needed and deemed useful.”
11:14 a.m.: The NKR InfoCenter informs that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) transferred another four patients from Stepanakert to medical institutions in Armenia.
2:17 a.m.: Toivo Klaar, the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, visits Yerevan for meetings. He tweeted: “The situation around the Lachin corridor is serious and solutions have to urgently be found. I look forward to discussions to explore ways forward. The EUs goal remains a comprehensive Armenia-Azerbaijan settlement.”
January 21, 2023
9:55 p.m.: Azerbaijan again cut off the gas supply to Artsakh after partial restoration yesterday.
January 20, 2023
2:40 p.m.: Artsakh authorities report that Azerbaijan has partially restored the supply of natural gas to Artsakh, but due to low pressure, it will be supplied with some limitations.
January 19, 2023
9:44 p.m.: Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra spoke on the phone with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts. He expressed concern about the humanitarian situation around the Lachin Corridor and “asked Azerbaijan to allow free movement on this road.” He called for the return to the negotiating table. The Netherlands supports the EU mediation process led by Charles Michel.
In his turn, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan “highlighted the importance of the targeted statement of the Government of the Netherlands regarding the full restoration of free movement through the Lachin Corridor.” While Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov “refuted baseless allegations on so-called blockade & emphasized that there is no impediment for safe movement of citizens and vehicles.”
3:26 p.m.: The European Parliament adopted a resolution entitled the “Humanitarian Consequences of the Blockade in Nagorno-Karabakh”.
1:52 p.m.: Iceland’s Foreign Minister and President of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, has made the following statement: “I am concerned about the increasingly precarious humanitarian situation of people living in Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of the month-long blockade of the Lachin corridor. I call on the relevant authorities to quickly restore freedom of movement along the corridor to avoid further deterioration of the situation. I call on all stakeholders to resolve their concerns through dialogue and remain ready to contribute to their efforts in this regard.”
12:37 p.m.: The NKR InfoCenter reports that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) facilitated the transfer of another two patients from Stepanakert to medical institutions in Armenia. Since the blockade of the Lachin Corridor started on December 12, 36 patients have been transferred from Artsakh to Armenia.
11:03 a.m.: The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Canadian parliament unanimously adopted a motion, calling for a maximum of three meetings on the blockade of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan. Artsakh’s Representative in the U.S. and Canada Robert Avetisyan and Human Rights Defender Gegham Stepanyan will be invited to participate in the hearing and to speak in front of the Canadian Parliament. The representatives of Artsakh are to be invited to speak by February 3.
January 18, 2023
10:52 p.m.: Javier Colomina, the NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs & Security Policy and Special Representative for the Caucasus & Central Asia, met with Prime Minister Pashinyan, Foreign Minister Mirzoyan, Defense Minister Papikyan, and Security Council secretary Grigoryan. He said they discussed NATO cooperation, regional security, and concerns about the situation on the Lachin Corridor. “It is key to guarantee free movement, address humanitarian issues, and resume talks,” he tweeted.
10:26 p.m.: The NKR InfoCenter reports that starting January 19 state institutions in Artsakh will switch to remote work to save energy. Only those employees who cannot perform their duties from home will work from their offices.
10:20 p.m.: A number of U.S. congressmen sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power urging the American Government to use maximum pressure on Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev to end his month-long blockade of the 120,000 people in Artsakh (Nagorno- Karabakh).
The letter reads as follows:
“The Lachin Corridor should be opened for unimpeded movement before the current humanitarian crisis becomes catastrophic. If the United States and our international partners fail to act immediately, there is no doubt that President Aliyev will continue to escalate his deadly aggressions against the Armenian people in Artsakh.
This is a man-made humanitarian crisis. In recent days, Azerbaijan has taken dangerous steps that prove the current deterrence strategy used by the United States and others in the international community is wholly insufficient. Reports from this week indicate that Azerbaijan sabotaged and continues preventing the repair of a high-voltage power transmission line that provides much of the Republic’s energy. This has caused rolling blackouts and electricity rationing. Further reports indicate that Azerbaijan has also cut the fiber-optic cable that provides most of the fixed-line internet to the region.These escalatory actions are taking place under the guise of an environmental protest.
However, this is clearly a deliberate attempt to severely worsen the quality of life for the people living in Artsakh, including 30,000 children, 20,000 elderly and 9,000 people with disabilities. Children and adult patients, many in critical medical condition, suffer in local hospitals from the lack of access to required medical supplies and services outside of the Republic. Individuals have died as a result. Additionally, a shortage of food and other necessary essentials has resulted in the closure of 120 schools and other educational institutions throughout the region.
We fear these actions and the lack of civilian access to water, food, and medical care caused by the blockade is a precursor to even worse human rights abuses. A recent report from the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention shares our deep concerns about the deteriorating quality of life and what it might mean for the future.
The current international strategy to reopen the Lachin Corridor is simply not working. Despite clearly documented evidence of the blockade and the tragic impact it is having on innocent civilians, President Aliyev continues to lie to the United States and the international community by stating that there is no blockade. Alarmingly, Aliyev has also stated that the road is open to leave for all those in Artsakh who do not want to become Azerbaijani citizens. The Aliyev regime is taking premeditated steps to remove the indigenous Armenian population from Artsakh and deprive them of the opportunity to live freely, democratically, and with dignity in the land of their ancestors – a clear sign of ethnic cleansing that must not be ignored. Meanwhile, the Russian peacekeepers stationed in the region have done little to disperse the Azerbaijanis blocking the corridor or deescalate the situation.
We appreciate the statements coming from the State Department and USAID and the efforts of our diplomats, in line with the U.S. Co-Chairmanship in the OSCE Minsk Group, as well as our commitment to protect and advance global human rights and democracy. Yet, the Aliyev regime’s blatant disregard for these calls to immediately reopen the corridor is deeply concerning and demonstrates the need to urgently increase international pressure.
Without immediate action by the United States, there is little doubt that conditions in Artsakh will further deteriorate – Aliyev’s deliberate and planned design. The people of Artsakh need the international community to immediately intervene and avert this potential humanitarian catastrophe. We urge you to work swiftly with our partners, including authorities in Artsakh, and use whatever diplomatic tools necessary to compel Azerbaijan to reopen this vital lifeline, as well as send international observers to the Lachin Corridor and Artsakh to explore opportunities for more effective and sustainable guarantees of security and peaceful development for the people of Artsakh. The United States must also consider all available options to provide humanitarian aid to Artsakh, including a potential airlift of supplies to prevent the very real threat of starvation.
Additionally, we believe that the threat of sanctions such as Magnitsky Sanctions against the authorities behind this blockade are warranted and appropriate given the grave threat the people of Artsakh are currently facing.”
9:48 p.m.: During a phone conversation with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed deep concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. He also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to support efforts toward a lasting peace in the region.
9:33 p.m.: The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the implementation of the common foreign and security policy – annual report 2022, which “strongly condemns” the Azerbaijani aggression of September 2022 and reiterated that the territorial integrity of Armenia must be fully respected and called on Azerbaijan to immediately withdraw from all parts of the territory of Armenia and to release the prisoners of war under their control.
The parliament also adopted a an amendment submitted to the resolution, in which it “strongly denounces Azerbaijan’s illegal blockade of the Lachin corridor, in violation of the trilateral statement of 9 November 2020, as it threatens to precipitate an intentional humanitarian crisis for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh; demands that the Azerbaijani authorities restore freedom of movement through the Lachin corridor with immediate effect.”
9:30 p.m.: The European Parliament presented a motion for a resolution on the humanitarian consequences of the blockade in Nagorno-Karabakh which will be voted on January 19, 2023.
The text of the resolution reads as follows:
A. whereas the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and the outside world, the Lachin corridor, has been blocked by self-proclaimed environmentalists from Azerbaijan since 12 December 2022; whereas this has disrupted access to essential goods and services, including food, fuel and medication, for the 120 000 Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh, effectively placing them under a blockade;
B. whereas the blockade has led to a severe humanitarian crisis, significantly affecting the most vulnerable populations; whereas the transfer of critically ill patients is nearly impossible, with one death resulting from this situation; whereas hundreds of families remain separated;
C. whereas this humanitarian crisis was further aggravated by Azerbaijan’s disruption of the natural gas supply to Nagorno-Karabakh, which left houses, hospitals and schools without heating;
D. whereas by sustaining the blockade of the Lachin corridor, Azerbaijan is breaching its international obligations under the trilateral ceasefire statement of 9 November 2020, under which Azerbaijan must guarantee the security of persons, vehicles and cargo moving along the corridor in both directions;
E. whereas the impediments to the use of the Lachin corridor set back the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan and undermine international confidence;
- Deplores the tragic humanitarian consequences of the blockade of the Lachin corridor and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict;
- Urges Azerbaijan to respect and implement the trilateral statement of 9 November 2020 and immediately reopen the Lachin corridor to enable free movement and ensure access to essential goods and services, thus guaranteeing security in the region and safeguarding residents’ livelihoods;
- Underlines the need for a comprehensive peace agreement, which must guarantee the rights and security of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenian population; calls on Azerbaijan to protect the rights of Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh and refrain from its inflammatory rhetoric that calls for discrimination against Armenians and urges Armenians to leave Nagorno-Karabakh;
- Urges Azerbaijan to refrain from undermining the functioning of transport, energy and communication connections between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh in future;
- Strongly condemns Azerbaijan’s scapegoating of human rights defenders and CSOs and calls on EU and Member State representations to support their work;
- Condemns the inaction of Russian “peacekeepers”; considers that their replacement with OSCE international peacekeepers, under a UN mandate, should be negotiated urgently;
- Calls for international organizations to be granted unimpeded access to Nagorno-Karabakh to assess the situation and provide the necessary humanitarian assistance;
- Calls for a UN or OSCE fact-finding mission to the Lachin corridor to assess the humanitarian situation on the ground;
- Calls for the urgent resumption, without preconditions, of negotiations based on the principles of the Helsinki Final Act;
- Calls for the EU to be actively involved and ensure that the inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh are no longer held hostage by Baku’s activism, Russia’s destructive role and the Minsk Group’s inactivity;
- Instructs its President to forward this resolution to Armenia, Azerbaijan and international institutions.
9:18 p.m.: Ned Price, the spokesperson of the U.S. State Department said during a press briefing that there have been setbacks when it comes to Nagorno-Karabakh. He added that Washington wants to see constructive dialogue put back on track and stands ready to engage bilaterally, with and through partners, through the OSCE or, if and when appropriate, trilaterally, as we have done in the past.
8 p.m.: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk calls for “free & safe movement through the Lachin Corridor to be immediately & fully enabled. Unrestricted access to food, medicine & other basic goods and services is essential to the enjoyment of human rights by the affected population.”
7:40 p.m.: The International Disability Alliance issued the following statement regarding the blockade of the Lachin Corridor:
We, the organizations working to advance the human rights of persons with disabilities, are following with concern the humanitarian situation caused by the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the lifeline road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.
The closure of the corridor has led to a series of human rights violations as well as denial of humanitarian access that has a disproportionately negative impact on persons with disabilities.
As a result of the blockade, around 120,000 people, including more than 9,000 persons with disabilities face grave human rights violations. This includes the denial of their freedom of movement as about 1,100 people cannot return to their homes in Nagorno-Karabakh, including 270 children separated from their parents.
Children’s right to inclusive education has been disrupted because kindergartens and preschools have been closed due to the insecurity of food supply.
Due to the closure of the road, access to essential goods and services in the region has become impossible. Shops are mostly empty, and medicine, including for children and persons with long-term medical conditions, are largely unavailable. There are reports of children being given adult medicines due to these shortages.
The situation is particularly challenging for persons with disabilities living in residential institutions because the issue of access to medicine is getting worse from day to day and food supplies are especially limited for people who have special dietary requirements.
People in need of urgent medical assistance, whose treatment cannot be organized in Nagorno-Karabakh, can be transferred to Armenia, but only with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
We call on all parties to fulfill all their obligations according to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Security Council Resolution 2475. The Government of Azerbaijan and the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation must immediately unblock the Lachin Corridor in accordance with paragraph 6 of the November 9, 2020, Trilateral Statement. We call for the unimpeded humanitarian access as well as freedom of movement along the Lachin Corridor, in both directions, for all civilians, to ensure safe, timely and unlimited humanitarian assistance for all.
6:18 p.m.: During a Security Council Session Artsakh’s President Arayik Harutyunyan informed the council that on January 15 the Russian side had facilitated a meeting between the Artsakh authorities and the Azerbaijani side to discuss the resolution of the situation on the Lachin Corridor. According to Harutyunyan, there was no progress in talks regarding the unblocking of the corridor. Instead, the president stated that as a result of the gas supply disruption on January 17 Artsakh is facing new serious challenges.
6:11 p.m.: The Parliament of Artsakh issued a statement calling on Armenia and Azerbaijan to “urgent measures to unblock Artsakh and prevent a humanitarian disaster.” The Artsakh parliament also urges international structures and the UN member states “to prevent the genocidal actions of Azerbaijan with practical steps in addition to statements and calls.”
5:37 p.m.: Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan told parliament that Armenia has sent Azerbaijan its proposal regarding the prospective peace treaty and is waiting for their response. In response, an Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that Azerbaijan is ready to sign a peace agreement based on the five basic principles and hold the next negotiating meeting as soon as possible. He said Armenia “disrupted the negotiation process” by not participating in the December 23, 2022 meeting in Moscow of foreign ministers.
Mirzoyan also stated the UN Security Council did not adopt a statement on the Lachin Corridor in late December because of the stance of some countries, including “friendly countries”, but discussions continue there.
5:07 p.m.: At a Q&A session in parliament, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said the international community acknowledges that the blockade of the Lachin Corridor and Azerbaijan’s aggressive statements create new obstacles for the peace process. “But, who said that this itself isn’t what Azerbaijan wants? Who says that this itself isn’t Azerbaijan’s long-term goal, to entirely derail the peace process with those kinds of provocative statements and by using our possible reactions,” he said. Pashinyan stated that Armenia’s reaction must be asymmetric, meaning active international diplomacy and further empowerment of domestic institutional capacity and state institutions, maintaining the reforms agenda and the peace agenda.
3:54 p.m.: Speaking at a press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Lachin Corridor must be open in both ways for people and goods. He added that Azerbaijan has provided information that the Armenian side has allegedly transported landmines and mined the territory near the Azerbaijani positions. “We are looking into the information,” he said.
He said Russia has proposed that Russian peacekeepers have the authority to control traffic along the corridor and have the “opportunity to check vehicles for prohibited non-humanitarian, non-civilian goods,” Lavrov said. He also noted that a meeting between Azerbaijani and Karabakh representatives has taken place with Russian mediation. “I think that the issue [on the Lachin corridor] will be resolved in the near future,” he said.
3:18 p.m.: Javier Colomina, the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, on a visit to Armenia, met with Deputy Foreign Minister Vahe Gevorgyan and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Besides discussing Armenia-NATO cooperation, they discussed the blockade of the Lachin Corridor and the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. Colomina “expressed concern about the situation caused by the blocking of the Lachin Corridor and emphasized the importance of ensuring the uninterrupted operation of the corridor” and added that NATO is “interested in ensuring stability and peace in the region and expresses support for the efforts made by international partners in this direction.”
10:37 a.m.: In a meeting with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg called on Azerbaijan to reopen the Lachin Corridor and ensure freedom of movement.
10:27 a.m.: The NKR InfoCenter reports that another six patients were transferred to medical institutions in Armenia. They were accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
9:36 a.m.: The gas supply in Artsakh was cut off again. It was briefly restored yesterday evening. Artsakhgas informs that at the moment the gas remaining in the pipes is being used.
12:26 a.m.: The NKR InfoCenter informs that 19 children, stranded in Armenia since the December 12 blockade, returned home via the Goris-Stepanakert road. The children were accompanied from Goris to Stepanakert by the Russian peacekeeping troops.
The car was stopped by Azerbaijanis in the Shushi-Karin Tak section of the highway where the so-called Azerbaijani eco-activists are gathered. Then, 10-15 Azerbaijanis with face masks on, cameras in hand, and in civilian clothes approached the car. Some of them rushed into the vehicle and filmed the children in the car.
As a result of the provocative actions of the Azerbaijanis, there was a commotion in the car, after which one of the children fainted. The Russian peacekeepers removed the Azerbaijanis from the car, and the vehicle continued its journey. Then, while the vehicles carrying the children were passing through the blocked section of the road, the Azerbaijanis demonstratively shouted in their direction.
January 17, 2023
7:58 p.m.: Russian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov and Jeyhun Bayramov spoke on the phone. For the first time, Lavrov called on Azerbaijan to unblock the Lachin Corridor. “The Russian side stressed the need for the soonest complete unblocking of traffic along the Lachin Corridor in accordance with the parameters set out in the tripartite high-level statement of November 9, 2020,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The importance of reaching mutually acceptable decisions on all related issues was also emphasized in order to resume comprehensive work on the key tracks of Azerbaijan-Armenian normalization on the basis of agreements between the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.”
In its press release, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said Bayramov stressed the “legitimate right of Azerbaijani citizens to protest against illegal economic activities, including the exploitation of natural resources and abuse of the Lachin road, in the territories of Azerbaijan where the Russian peacekeeping contingent is stationed.” Bayramov pointed out that “it is necessary to fulfill the rightful demands of the protesters.”
He denied once again that Artsakh is blockaded, insisting that dozens of vehicles of the Russian peacekeeping contingent and the International Red Cross Committee, and Armenian ambulances pass through the road every day, “which refutes the baseless claims of the Armenian side.”
4:04 p.m.: The Speaker of Armenia’s Parliament Alen Simonyan sent an official letter to the heads of parliaments of over 30 countries and the presidents of international parliamentary organizations briefing them on the ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor. The letter draws attention to the worsening humanitarian situation in Artsakh, the shortages of food and medical supplies as well as the disruption of electricity supply.
The letter also calls on Armenia’s international partners to take additional efforts to prevent the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Artsakh, including applying sanctions against Azerbaijan.
3:30 p.m.: A special session of the OSCE Permanent Council was convened in Vienna at Armenia’s initiative to discuss the situation in the region and, particularly, the blockade of the Lachin Corridor.
In his remarks, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said that after the 2020 Artsakh War, Azerbaijan, “instead of engaging in good faith into the negotiations, continues its destructive policy,” including two instances of aggression against Armenia in May and November 2021 and September 2022, which resulted in the occupation of 150 sq km of the sovereign territory of Armenia. Mirzoyan said that the blockade of the Lachin Corridor has “created a humanitarian crisis with far going intentions.” He said that for more than a month, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh “remain under an actual siege” and there is a “severe shortage of all essential goods” there.
Mirzoyan said the humanitarian crisis is “worsening with each passing day and requires the immediate and targeted intervention of the international community. We cannot stand by and watch how people are slowly starving to death, because of political games and perhaps geopolitical considerations. The time to act is now.”
Mirzoyan called for more pressure on Azerbaijan “for it to comply with its own commitments. Azerbaijan should face consequences for its actions.” He said Azerbaijan aims to “coerce the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to leave their native land and leave their homes.” He mentioned Aliyev’s recent statement suggesting the deportation of those Armenians who do not want to become citizens of Azerbaijan, which “comes to prove their intention of ethnic cleansing.”
The Minister also called for the deployment of an “international fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin Corridor to assess the humanitarian situation on the ground, as well as to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to Nagorno-Karabakh for relevant UN bodies.”
The Foreign Minister said Armenia “rule[s] out any exterritorial corridor on the territory of the Republic of Armenia and will not provide any corridor to anyone. This is a principled and irrevocable position.”
Mirzoyan added that Armenia has suggested creating an international mechanism for dialogue between Stepanakert and Baku. The blockade of the corridor “proves once again the absolute necessity of international engagement to address the issues of rights and security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.” He also mentioned the OSCE Minsk Group, that despite all the challenges, “still has a responsibility as the political resolution of the conflict is yet to be achieved.” Mirzoyan concluded by saying that the OSCE “can play an instrumental role not merely in achieving but also sustaining peace through the involvement of its structures.”
The US representative at the OSCE, Michael Carpenter, welcomed and thanked Mirzoyan for his assessment of the “grave security situation in the region.” He said the U.S. is “gravely concerned that the Lachin corridor has now been obstructed for more than 30 days, creating critical shortages of food, medicine, and other supplies in Nagorno-Karabakh. These facts are indisputable. We call on Azerbaijan and Russia to restore unhindered transit immediately in keeping with prior commitments, which clearly include guarantees, as you have quoted, for the ‘security of persons, vehicles and cargo moving along the Lachin Corridor in both directions.’”
Carpenter said the blockade “could have severe humanitarian consequences for the people living in Nagorno-Karabakh” and thanked the ICRC for “providing critical aid” and called on Azerbaijan to “ensure the individual rights, safety, and well-being of the population living in this area are respected. All OSCE participating States have an obligation to protect the safety of persons on their territory without regard to ethnicity.”
Carpenter said he looks forward to a “substantive discussion” on the recommendations of the OSCE Needs Assessment Team. He said the U.S. calls on Azerbaijan and Armenia to “reengage in meaningful negotiations to resolve their disputes. A comprehensive peace agreement is the only true path to long-lasting peace based on normalization of relations and mutual recognition.”
The French representative to the OSCE reiterated its call for the immediate and unconditional restoration of freedom and security of movement through the Lachin Corridor.
The EU also thanked Mirzoyan for his address and reiterated its continued support to Armenia and its citizens. The EU statement, which was endorsed by several non-EU states (North Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Iceland, Norway), reiterated “its call on the Azerbaijani authorities to fully restore freedom and security of movement along the corridor, in line with the commitments deriving from the trilateral statement of 9 November 2020.”
The EU said that restrictions to such freedom of movement are causing “significant distress among the local population” and that it is “increasingly alarmed about the negative humanitarian impact resulting from the lack of food, medicine and other essential goods and medical services, in addition to disruptions to energy supplies and telecommunications. The situation is not sustainable and creates tensions that run contrary to much-needed confidence-building efforts.”
The UK representative said the “ongoing disruptions to the Lachin Corridor and the associated humanitarian consequences are deeply worrying” and urged the government of Azerbaijan to “take all measures to allow for the unhindered movement of humanitarian goods and civilians.” The UK said it regrets that “despite this issue being raised here at the OSCE and the United Nations Security Council, significant progress has not been made.”
The Azerbaijani representative repeated their main talking points, such as that “Nagorno-Karabakh” is a “fictitious entity set up by Armenia” and that Armenia has not fully withdrawn its armed forces from and “continues a variety of military activities” in the “territories of Azerbaijan”. Azerbaijan claims Armenia continues the “illegal transfer of weapons and personnel to the territory of Azerbaijan through the Lachin road.” He reiterated Azerbaijan’s position that it will “not engage with such individuals as Ruben Vardanyan with dubious a record, who was implanted into the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan to derail the fragile peace-building process.”
Azerbaijan claims the Lachin Corridor is “being misused by Armenia not only for unlawful military activities but also for the trafficking of natural resources from the territories of Azerbaijan to Armenia.” He again insisted that Azerbaijan has not put any restriction on the traffic along the corridor. “Nor did the protesters declare an intention to block the traffic along the road. The news reports and videos disseminated through social media testify to the unhindered passage of the various kinds of vehicles along the road, including civilian and emergency vehicles and those of the ICRC,” he said.
Azerbaijan also denied reports about the humanitarian consequences of the blockade. “This is nothing other than another manifestation of reckless manipulation by Armenia of the situation for obvious malign political purposes. There is no impediment whatsoever as to the supply of goods for the use of local residents or in terms of delivery of essential medical services,” he claimed. He said Azerbaijan is ready to “address any humanitarian concern of our citizens of Armenian origin on the ground.” He stated that 644 vehicles of the Russian peacekeepers and the ICRC and local Armenian residents have passed in both directions of the corridor “without any impediment.” He said between January 5 – 15, around 30 vehicles, mostly trucks, have passed through, carrying foodstuff and medical supplies to Stepanakert.
The Azerbaijani representative said the “sooner the legitimate concerns of Azerbaijani authorities and the general public with regard to abuse of the road for unlawful exploitation of resources and for military purposes will be addressed, the sooner the present situation will be resolved.” He also dismissed the Minsk Group, calling it an “obsolete structure” that has been “totally dysfunctional for the last two years.”
The Russian representative at the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich said that the “deteriorating humanitarian situation” in Artsakh “causes serious concern” and added that the population of Nagorno-Karabakh “should not become a hostage to political disagreements between Baku and Yerevan.”
He added that the corridor “should remain under the control of the Russian peacekeepers and be used only for the purposes outlined” in the November 2020 tripartite statement. “We call on our Azerbaijani and Armenian partners to demonstrate goodwill and jointly look for mutually acceptable compromises in order to resolve the situation around the Lachin Corridor as soon as possible, agree on the parameters for the development of ore deposits and resolve problems with the supply of electricity,” he said.
He stressed that Russia is taking “all possible measures”, including at the political level and the “on the ground”, to de-escalate tensions and resolve the situation.
Lukashevich said a “sustainable and long-term” solution is possible only through “strict observance of all the provisions of the tripartite agreements of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.” He called “provocative actions and public attacks against Russian peacekeepers” unacceptable and damaging to Armenian-Azerbaijani normalization.
3:10 p.m.: Artsakh’s State Minister Ruben Vardanyan announced that the Artsakh authorities and the Russian peacekeeping mission arranged the transfer of foreigners, who were trapped in Artsakh because of the blockade, back to their countries. He added that the blockade continues for the 120,000 residents of Artsakh, among them 30,000 children.
1:09 p.m.: Mesrop Arakelyan, the adviser to Artsakh’s State Minister Ruben Vardanyan, reported that the gas supply has been cut off in Artsakh again.
1:10 a.m.: Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan spoke on the phone with UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Mirzoyan briefed Guterres on the details of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, particularly stressing the “need for a targeted response and efficient steps by international institutions, particularly, the United Nations.” Mirzoyan “highlighted the importance of sending a fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh and Lachin Corridor, as well as ensuring unhindered humanitarian access to Nagorno-Karabakh for relevant UN bodies.”
January 16, 2023
8:20 p.m.: The Office of the Representative of Armenia on International Legal Matters informs that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) sent an urgent notice to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to monitor the implementation of the interim measure indicated to Azerbaijan at the request of Armenia on December 21, 2022 on reopening of the Lachin Corridor.
The ECHR rejected Azerbaijan’s request on interim measures against Armenia and the December 21 decision remains in force.
The Representative of Armenia on International Legal Matters had been providing the ECHR with updated information on the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno Karabakh over the Lachin Corridor and had requested the court to immediately notify the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on Azerbaijan’s failure to implement the decision.
The ECHR examined the arguments from both parties and completely rejected Azerbaijan’s requests.
4:44 p.m.: Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan addressed parliament, stressing the need for unity. He dismissed speculations of a political crisis in Artsakh and added that “there is a clear understanding that our main agenda is to overcome the urgent issues and recover Artsakh from this situation.” Yesterday, Artsakh’s State Minister Ruben Vardanyan stated that he is not going to resign. “The possible resignation of the President or the dissolvement of the Parliament are also unacceptable. We must convene all our efforts to overcome this horrible situation. We must preserve Artsakh and we have that chance today!” he tweeted.
4:04 p.m.: The NKR InfoCenter reports that the Artsakh authorities decided to switch to four hour rolling blackouts instead of two hours starting January 17 given the ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor.
12:54 p.m.: Artsakh authorities report that 14 infants and nine adults are in intensive care units. Since the blockade, 132 babies have been born; about 400 people have not undergone scheduled surgeries; 28 patients have been transferred from Artsakh to Armenia by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to receive treatment.
The authorities say that 726 or more than one in six (17.7%) of all businesses in Artsakh have ceased operations under the blockade. At least 3,400 people have lost their jobs and source of income. More than 14,000 tons of vital goods would have been delivered to Artsakh if it were not for the blockade, during which only a small portion was delivered by the ICRC and the Russian peacekeepers.
January 15, 2023
7:20 p.m.: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) informed Armenpress that the organization transferred medical supplies to health institutions in Artsakh. The medical supplies were provided by Armenia’s Health Ministry.
12:42 p.m.: The NKR InfoCenter informs that four patients were transferred from Stepanakert to hospitals in Armenia. They were accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
January 14, 2023
1:14 p.m.: Five patients were transferred from Stepanakert to medical institutions in Armenia through the mediation and support of the ICRC, the NKR InfoCenter reports.
1:02 a.m.: Freedom House again called on Azerbaijan to immediately end the blockade. In a tweet it stated that Azerbaijan’s month-long blockade of the Lachin Corridor is creating a humanitarian crisis within Nagorno-Karabakh as vital supplies dwindle.
The organization also called on the international community to support the lifting of the blockade and a return to negotiations without coercion, adding that the rights, security, and well-being of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh must be ensured.
January 13, 2023
8:15 p.m.: The Human Rights Defenders of Armenia and Artsakh published an updated ad hoc report on the humanitarian consequences of blocking the Lachin Corridor. In the report, the Defenders referred to the reaction of international organizations, officials, and media to the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the provocative statements by high-ranking Azerbaijani officials and public figures, the continuous signs of ethnic cleansing demonstrated by Azerbaijan, the humanitarian crisis caused by the blockade, new data substantiating the fake nature of the “eco-activists” protest action, as well as to the direct connections of the persons who blocked the road with the government of Azerbaijan.
The report also referred to the rights to freedom of movement, an adequate standard of living, food, and health care of the population, as well as violations of children’s rights. The Human Rights Defenders concluded that deploying an international fact-finding mission is necessary, inter alia, to prevent the most far-reaching steps of the Azerbaijani policy of ethnic cleansing. The report will be presented to organizations and actors with an international human rights mandate.
7:21 p.m.: The NKR InfoCenter reports that the internet connection was restored in the territory of Artsakh. Through the mediation of the Russian peacekeeping forces deployed in Artsakh the technical staff of Karabakh Telecom (the internet provider in Artsakh) managed to visit the area where the cable was damaged and repair it.
January 12, 2023
5:44 p.m.: Alen Simonyan, speaker of Armenia’s parliament, said that Armenia should not be involved in talks regarding the unblocking of the Lachin Corridor since Armenia is a party in regards to the corridor according to the tripartite statement of November 2020. He said that the authorities of Artsakh “have the opportunity to directly negotiate and speak directly with Azerbaijan” and that Armenia will support every decision of Artsakh. Simonyan argued that Azerbaijan aims to engage Armenia in the talks to force an extraterritorial corridor through the territory of Armenia.
5:19 p.m.: In a briefing, Russian Foreign Ministry representative Maria Zakharova said that Armenia “missed a good opportunity” to hold talks with Azerbaijan on December 23, 2022 in Moscow and use it to discuss important issues such as the situation in the Lachin Corridor. She said Russia continues to work toward the “complete unblocking” of the corridor in accordance with the tripartite statement of November 2020. “Consistent steps to de-escalate the situation” are being taken by Russia’s Defense and Interior ministries and the command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent. “We must identify a solution that all parties will find acceptable,” she said, adding that “humanitarian convoys are using the corridor now.”
She also reiterated earlier statements by Russia’s deputy representative at the UN, that Russia’s suggestions were overwhelmingly ignored by France which drafted a statement at the UN Security Council in late December. “Despite our constructive approach, the French authors of the document ignored the overwhelming majority of Russian proposals. Our Western colleagues failed to muster the courage to even state the facts in the text and, in particular, to mention the [tripatriate] statements of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.”
4:51 p.m.: Internet connection has been cut off in Artsakh. According to Artsakh’s internet provider the cable was damaged at the spot where the so-called environmental activists have blocked the Lachin Corridor.
3 p.m.: Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan spoke on the phone with Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, who called on Azerbaijan to ensure free and safe movement along the Lachin Corridor.
2 p.m.: The presence of the Russian peacekeeping contingent is one of the main guarantees that is restraining the Turkish-Azeri tandem from completing their plans on depopulating Artsakh, the Foreign Minister of Artsakh Sergey Ghazaryan said during a Stepanakert-Yerevan teleconference dedicated to the one month blockade of the Lachin Corridor.
Ghazaryan also stated that one of the main goals the Azerbaijani side was pursuing was to incite a wave of discontent among the Armenian population against the Russian peacekeepers. Azerbaijan is trying to discredit the activities of Russian peacekeepers by all means.
The Foreign Minister of Artsakh said that in this given situation the role of the Russian peacekeepers is becoming more important because Azerbaijan is impeding food and medicine supply into Artsakh by all means, but the Russian peacekeepers must be involved in order for essential products to be brought in.
2 p.m.: The presence of the Russian peacekeeping contingent is one of the main guarantees that is restraining the Turkish-Azeri tandem from completing their plans on depopulating Artsakh, the Foreign Minister of Artsakh Sergey Ghazaryan said during a Stepanakert-Yerevan teleconference dedicated to the one month blockade of the Lachin Corridor.
Ghazaryan also stated that one of the main goals the Azerbaijani side was pursuing was to incite a wave of discontent among the Armenian population against the Russian peacekeepers. Azerbaijan is trying to discredit the activities of Russian peacekeepers by all means.
The Foreign Minister of Artsakh said that in this given situation the role of the Russian peacekeepers is becoming more important because Azerbaijan is impeding food and medicine supply into Artsakh by all means, but the Russian peacekeepers must be involved in order for essential products to be brought in.
During the teleconference Artsakh’s State Minister Ruben Vardanyan said that the struggle of the people of Artsakh is not against the blockade, but rather a struggle for their right to live on their land, in their homeland, with their laws, their values, and they must not obey the terms of others.
11 a.m.: Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke about the possible resolution of the situation on the Lachin Corridor during the cabinet meeting. He said that the developments of recent years, their deeper meanings and reasons should be faced in a way that the assessments of events and situations by the Armenian side should be fact-based. Pashinyan went on to say that political statements which drive the situation further into a deadlock should be avoided, because statements that are not accompanied by clear ideas of reaching the end goal are of no use. According to the Prime Minister a political dialogue between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan should begin, and the authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh should not give anyone the opportunity to accuse them of disrupting a constructive dialogue or making such a dialogue impossible.
Pashinyan also stated that the closure of the Lachin Corridor is a provocation, the ultimate goal of which is a new military escalation, thus steps should not be taken that are desirable for those developing the military escalation scenario. He added that one of the goals of this provocation and escalation is to hide the obvious need for political and official dialogue between Baku and Stepanakert and push it off the agenda and that actions should not be taken that contribute to this provocative task.
11 a.m.: Zara Amatuni, the Communications Manager of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Armenia told Armenpress, that the organization facilitated the transfer of three patients requiring urgent medical treatment from Artsakh to Armenia.
January 11, 2023
7:54 p.m.: Amnesty International weighed in on the situation in the Lachin Corridor. In a tweet the human rights watchdog stated: “Azerbaijan must end the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, which has left residents of Nagorno-Karabakh without access to essential goods and services. Freedom of movement and protection of economic and social rights for those affected must be ensured.”
4:48 p.m.: UK ambassador to Armenia John Gallagher denies that the UK blocked the UN Security Council press statement on the Lachin Corridor in late December. “I want to emphasize that the UK did not coordinate with Russia, Albania and the UAE on this, and can confirm that the UK did not block the UNSC press statement,” Gallagher told Armenpress.
“We are extremely concerned about the humanitarian impact the closure of the road is causing and we have repeatedly called for it to be reopened. We worked in good faith through several rounds of negotiations to agree on a text but unfortunately it was not possible to construct a statement that was acceptable to all members of the Security Council,” the Ambassador said.
He also denied that Anglo Asian Mining, which has been granted mining licenses in Artsakh, has had influence on the UK government. “While Anglo Asian Mining is listed on the London Stock Exchange, the UK government does not own any shares in the company or sit on its management board,” he said. Gallagher added that the “dispute over rights to natural resources is an illustration of why it is so important for both Armenia and Azerbaijan to engage with each other to achieve a sustainable and peaceful settlement to the conflict.”
The UK ambassador also stated that the UK government has made clear that blocking the Lachin Corridor and disrupting gas supplies in winter risks severe humanitarian consequences. “We continue to urge the governments of both Azerbaijan and Armenia to abide by all ceasefire commitments in good faith. This is consistent with our support for international efforts to facilitate a sustainable and peaceful settlement to the conflict,” he said.
4:10 p.m.: Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary of Russia’s President, told reporters that the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh must be acceptable for both Yerevan and Baku. He added that the issue has been discussed several times by the Armenian and Russian sides.
During a press conference on January 10, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated that if the Russian peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh is not able to fulfill its obligations, it should apply to the UN Security Council to deploy an international peacekeeping mission in Nagorno-Karabakh.
3:38 p.m.: On January 11, Artsakh’s President Arayik Harutyunyan chaired a meeting of the Security Council attended by representatives of all political forces represented in the National Assembly. The Security Councul session adopted a statement appealing to the international community to assume responsibility for preventing the terrorist actions undertaken by Azerbaijan, the planned ethnic cleansing and an impending new genocide.
In the statement it is also mentioned that the thoughts expressed by Azerbaijan’s President during the press conference held on January 10 prove once again that the blockade of the Lachin Corridor is nothing but an obvious manifestation of the threat of using force by the Azerbaijani authorities in the process of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
11:20 a.m.: Azerbaijan is hindering repair crews to access the area where the only high-voltage power line supplying Artsakh with electricity from Armenia has been damaged, the government of Artsakh told Armenpress.
12:02 a.m.: The 2023 OSCE Chairman-in-Office, the Foreign Minister of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani, held two separate telephone conversations with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan. A press release issued by the OSCE informs that the conversations with the ministers focused on the situation in the South Caucasus region, with a particular emphasis on the Lachin Corridor.
Bujar Osmani emphasized that he is carefully following the situation around the Lachin Corridor and expressed his concerns about its effect on the daily lives of the civilian population. He called for all sides to ease tensions and engage in constructive and productive dialogue. Osmani announced that he will hold subsequent separate visits to Armenia and Azerbaijan.
According to a press release issued by Armenia’s Foreign Ministry, Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan drew the OSCE Chairman’s attention to the humanitarian crisis resulting from the blockade of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan. It was emphasized that the actions of Azerbaijan grossly violate the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020, as well as international humanitarian law. Mirzoyan underlined that Azerbaijan’s actions are aimed at subjecting 120,000 Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh to ethnic cleansing. In the context of preventing the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, Foreign Minister Mirzoyan stressed the need to undertake clear steps by relevant regional and international institutions, including the OSCE.
5:36 a.m.: Karen Donfried, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, urged Armenian and Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov to “immediately engage to find a diplomatic solution to enable movement of goods through the Lachin Corridor.” She encouraged the ministers to “re-engage in the process of reaching an enduring peace.”
Mirzoyan briefed Donfried on the humanitarian situation deteriorating daily since the blockade began on December 12. In his turn, Bayramov “refuted fake propaganda on so-called ‘food shortage’” in Artsakh and provided “irrefutable facts on unobstructed use of the road for humanitarian purposes.”
January 10, 2023
8:42 p.m.: The Foreign Affairs Committee of Switzerland’s Council of States, the upper house of parliament, condemns the blockade of the Lachin Corridor and asks the federal government to appeal to the UN Security Council to take steps to lift the blockade and launch a humanitarian airlift between Yerevan and Stepanakert.
7:24 p.m.: The U.S. Helsinki Commission tweets: “The blocking of trade and transit on the Lachin Corridor is contributing to a humanitarian catastrophe in Karabakh, and should be lifted immediately. Azerbaijan has a moral responsibility for ensuring the welfare of Karabakh Armenians. This disturbing situation is further evidence that Russia is neither a reliable security provider nor a legitimate broker for peace in the South Caucasus, or elsewhere. Once again, Moscow instrumentalizes Armenian and Azerbaijani suffering for its own cynical, venal pursuits.”
5:28 p.m.: Local reports suggest an increasing shortage of medical supplies in Artsakh. Pharmacists interviewed by Artsakhpress reported great demand for baby formula, diapers and antibiotics, and blood pressure regulating drugs. There is a lack of antipyretic drugs for some children and a shortage of drugs and insulin syringes for diabetics.
3:23 p.m.: Ambassador of Japan to Armenia Masanori Fukushima calls for de-escalation of tensions and freedom and security of movement along the Lachin Corridor. “I am concerned by the reports of the developments around the Lachin Corridor. I urge the sides to de-escalate tensions and to ensure freedom and security of movement along the corridor, in line with the arrangements that the sides have agreed.”
12:53 p.m.: Artsakh’s Health Ministry informs that another three patients were transferred from Stepanakert to hospitals in Armenia. The patients were accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
12:30 p.m.: The NKR InfoCenter reports that on January 9, an accident occurred on the 33rd km of the only 110 kV high-voltage line supplying electricity to Artsakh from Armenia. Authorities in Artsakh believe that the accident occurred on the Aghavno-Berdzor section of the line, which is now under Azerbaijani control. As such, it is not possible to carry out emergency repairs. Electricity will be supplied to the public through local generating stations with restrictions. Because of the situation, rolling blackouts are being implemented in the Republic starting January 10. To avoid possible additional outages, the authorities are calling on the public to use electricity as sparingly as possible.
10:10 a.m.: Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, in an interview to local TV channels, talks extensively about the Lachin Corridor. He called the young people blocking the road “a source of our pride.” “They were there day and night in frosty and snowy weather, demanding their rights and once again showing the whole world how high the qualities of Azerbaijani youth are,” he stated.
He claimed that there is no blockade. “About 400 trucks of peacekeepers have passed through there” since December 12. He insisted that the Russian peacekeepers supply food and other goods to the Artsakh Armenians. “We do not object to that. Our goal is not a blockade. As many times as the Red Cross has applied, permission has been granted,” he said.
He described calling it a blockade “another anti-Azerbaijani show”, because “Armenians and their patrons think that they will gain something by using this against us.” He said Azerbaijan has “legitimate demands”, referring to accessing mines “exploited illegally” in Artsakh. “This action will probably continue until we have access. Our demands are also completely legitimate. Monitoring, inspection and an end to illegal exploitation are necessary, and we will achieve that. Therefore, it is simply unfair to call the events happening on the Lachin-Khankendi road a blockade,” Aliyev said.
Aliyev also stated that “conditions will be created” for those Armenians who “want to live there under the flag of Azerbaijan” and their rights and security will be provided “just like all the other citizens of Azerbaijan.” As for those, who do not want to become Azerbaijani citizens, Aliyev said, “the road is not closed, it is open. They can leave, they can go by themselves, no-one will hinder them. They can go under the awning of peacekeepers’ trucks or they can go by bus. The road is open.”
9:36 a.m.: UN Secretary-General António Guterres reiterates his calls to de-escalate tensions and ensure freedom and security of movement along the Lachin Corridor. His spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told Armenpress that the Secretary-General underlined his concerns over the current situation in his statement on December 14, 2022. “These concerns were reiterated by the Secretariat during the Emergency Security Council session requested by Armenia on 20 December 2022. The Secretary-General reiterates his calls to de-escalate tensions and ensure freedom and security of movement along the corridor, in line with the previously reached agreements and expresses his support to the ongoing mediation efforts. The UN Country Teams in Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to maintain open channels with the authorities and international partners on the ground, and stand ready to respond if requested and as conditions allow,” Dujarric said.
January 9, 2023
1:55 p.m.: Azerbaijani media sources report that 21 vehicles belonging to the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Artsakh crossed the Lachin Corridor.
1:50 p.m.: During a discussion held by Artsakh’s State Minister Ruben Vardanyan and other ministers it was decided to introduce a coupon system for the effective and proportional distribution of food products from reserve supplies. In the initial stage coupons will be used for the distribution of a few first necessity products.
1:14 p.m.: The NKR InfoCenter reports that normal gas supply continues in Artsakh, and the information circulating about gas supply disruption does not correspond to reality.
January 8, 2023
9:06 p.m.: Artsakh authorities temporarily close down all preschools and kindergartens due to food shortages.
5:55 p.m.: An Armenian civilian is handed over to the Armenian side by Azerbaijan, who according to Azerbaijani claims had approached an Azerbaijani military outpost earlier, asking for help. He was taken to Shushi, where he was handed over to the Armenian side. Azerbaijani sources also claimed he had met with the “environmental activists” blocking the Goris-Stepanakert highway. Artsakh’s National Security Service said the civilian, Toros Ghazaryan, is a farmer from Chartar in the Martuni district. He had gone missing on January 1. Azerbaijan had previously denied that he was in their custody. Artsakh’s NSS accused Azerbaijan of staging a performance for propaganda purposes.
January 7, 2023
2:10 p.m.: By the decree of the President of Artsakh, Vitali Balasanyan has been relieved of his position as the Secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Artsakh; Ararat Melkumyan has been appointed to the position. Up till his appointment as Secretary of the Security Council, Major-General Ararat Melkumyan held the position of the first deputy director of the National Security Service of the Republic of Artsakh.
12:35 p.m.: Three patients have been transported from Artsakh to medical institutions in Armenia through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). One of the patients is a two-month-old with Down Syndrome, another patient is an adult with acute leukemia. The Artsakh Ministry of Health also reports that 13 children are still in the neonatal and intensive care units; 13 patients are in intensive care, six of them are in critical condition.
To date, a total of 13 patients, two of them children, have been transferred from Artsakh to Armenia with the mediation and accompaniment of the ICRC.
January 6, 2023
9:35 p.m.: Michael Carpenter, U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE tweeted: “The United States remains concerned the Lachin Corridor has now been blocked for over three weeks, creating a grave humanitarian situation. We thank ICRC for providing critical aid during this time, but call on Azerbaijan and Russia to restore access immediately.”
2:10 p.m.: Hikmet Alizadeh, the head of the State Service for Environmental Security of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan, is reported as saying that the eco-activists in the Lachin Corridor will continue their protest until their demands are met. According to Alizadeh, the participants of the action are demanding the necessary conditions to be able to monitor the area [of the mines].
1:35 p.m.: The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Artsakh reports that Azerbaijani Armed Forces opened fire in the direction of a villager and his tractor in Hatsi village of the Martuni region from adjacent Azerbaijani combat positions, while carrying out agricultural work. Artsakh authorities have reported the incident to the Russian peacekeepers. Agricultural works have been suspended. 3:47 p.m.: Artsakh’s Interior Ministry reports that Azerbaijani Armed Forces fired in the direction of a tractor conducting fieldwork near the village of Hatsi in the Martuni region. The Russian peacekeeping mission has been informed about the incident.
January 5, 2023
8:26 p.m.: Azerbaijan filed a request for the indication of provisional measures in the case concerning Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination before the International Court of Justice.
In its Request, Azerbaijan states that “new evidence has emerged that Armenia, contradicting representations it made to the Court in 2021, deliberately continued to lay landmines in or after 2021 in civilian zones to which displaced Azerbaijanis are slated to return” and that “[i]n October 2022, Azerbaijan also discovered booby traps in civilian homes that were planted or facilitated by Armenia’s forces.” Azerbaijan adds that “[u]rgent action is needed to stem the mounting casualties caused in recent weeks by Armenia’s actions.”
Azerbaijan requests the Court to indicate the following provisional measures:
(a) Armenia shall immediately take all necessary steps to enable Azerbaijan to undertake the prompt, safe and effective demining of the towns, villages, and other areas to which Azerbaijani civilians will return in the Lachin District, Kalbajar District and other formerly occupied districts of Azerbaijan, including by providing information about the location, quantity, type and characteristics of landmines, booby traps and any other explosive devices in these areas, in order to enable Azerbaijani internally displaced persons to return to their homes; and
(b) Armenia shall immediately cease and desist from any further efforts to plant or to sponsor or support the planting of landmines and booby traps in these areas to which Azerbaijani civilians will return in Azerbaijan’s territory, including, but not limited to, the use of the Lachin Corridor for this purpose.
8:01 p.m.: The Nagorno-Karabakh office of the HALO Trust tweeted that it is seriously concerned by the ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor. The organization stated that it is hoping for a swift resolution of the situation adding that it is in regular contact with its regional partners and other humanitarian organizations to coordinate humanitarian assistance, as needed. The HALO Trust has around 100 local staff on the ground in Nagorno-Karabakh and noted that it is monitoring the availability of food and other supplies for them and their communities.
1:28 p.m.: The Parliament of Artsakh appealed to the leaders of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries (the United States, France, Russia), calling upon them to take concrete actions in the direction of either opening the Lachin Corridor or launching an air corridor – operating the Stepanakert airport, which would mitigate the humanitarian crisis in Artsakh during the winter.
11:40 p.m.: Artsakh’s State Minister Ruben Vardanyan stated that at the moment there are no negotiations between the Stepanakert authorities and Baku for opening the Lachin Corridor. He noted that the Azerbaijani side had presented demands, to which Stepanakert responded, stating that they are ready to let international environmental experts into the mines. There has been no subsequent response from Baku.
11 a.m.: Addressing the ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated during the cabinet meeting that despite mounting international calls to open the corridor Azerbaijan is not taking any action to resolve the situation. According to Pashinyan, by blocking the Lachin Corridor Azerbaijan is violating the November 9 statement, which raises questions about Azerbaijan’s ability to adhere to agreements.
Pashinyan also said that the Armenian side expects concrete steps from the international community, and Russia in particular, to condemn Azerbaijan’s policy of ethnic cleansing against the Armenians of Artsakh. In conclusion, the Prime Minister stated that the ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor makes sending an international fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin Corridor even more necessary, adding that continuous efforts must be taken in that direction.
January 4, 2023
11:01 p.m.: U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price told Armenpress that the United States remains concerned about impeded access to the Lachin Corridor and the humanitarian implications of this situation. According to Price, this sets back the peace process and undermines international confidence. “We call for the full restoration of free movement through the corridor. The way forward for all issues is through negotiations,” he went on to say.
6:12 p.m.: Gegham Stepanyan, Artsakh’s Human Rights Defender, says imposing sanctions on Azerbaijan is the “only realistic step” in this situation. “International actors must decide whether the lives of starving people are important or economic or other interests,” he tweeted.
10:46 p.m.: The Artsakh Health Ministry informs that two patients, one with a brain tumor and another with a malignant tumor of the eye, have been transported to medical institutions in Armenia escorted by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
9:24 a.m.: Mayor of Los Angeles Karen Bass tweets: “I stand with the Armenian community here in Los Angeles calling for an end to the blockade of the Lachin Corridor. We must clearly demonstrate our commitment to freedom by helping the people of Artsakh. This is a crisis and will only get worse with inaction. Lives are at stake.”
January 3, 2023
7 p.m.: Armenia’s Foreign Ministry issues a statement drawing the attention of international partners to the continuing blockade. “The humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh is worsening day-by-day. The lack of essential goods, food and medicine becomes more and more noticeable. The danger of malnutrition is tangible,” the statement says, adding that the calls by most of the UN Security Council members to lift the blockade are welcomed.
The MFA statement also welcomes France’s efforts in the ten-day period following the December 20 UNSC session to adopt a press statement. Armenia will continue to take steps in all possible formats, including within the framework of the UNSC and international and regional structures, in order to ensure a “decisive response and actions arising from the mandate and functions of these structures.”
The Foreign Ministry also says it is necessary to send an international fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Lachin Corridor to assess the humanitarian situation on the ground, as well as to ensure unhindered humanitarian access to Nagorno-Karabakh for relevant UN bodies. The statement says Armenia expects Russia to make efforts to eliminate the gross violation of the November 2020 tripartite statement without any preconditions.
In relation to the French efforts to adopt a UNSC joint statement in the ten-day period following the December 20 UNSC session, Vaqif Sadiqov, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg and the Head of the Azerbaijani Mission to the European Union had tweeted on December 31, 2022 saying, “Today France lost another battle to Azerbaijan in UN Security Council in a failed attempt to push biased pro-Armenian UNSC statement on Lachin which triggered harsh reaction from other UNSC members. Words of gratitude go to Albania, Russia, UAE & UK! A great job of Azerbaijani diplomats!”
5 p.m.: The Artsakh authorities have decided to supply some essential goods from state reserves to stores.
January 2, 2023
A report by the International Crisis Group (ICG), “10 Conflicts to Watch in 2023,” also looks into the “Armenia and Azerbaijan” conflict and the fate of the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, however, the report does not mention the ongoing Azerbaijani blockade of the Lachin Corridor that started on December 12.
According to the ICG report, “Russian peacekeepers have not stopped several flare-ups this past year. Azerbaijani troops in March and August captured more territory in Nagorno-Karabakh, including strategic mountain positions. In September, Azerbaijani forces seized territory inside Armenia proper. Each bout of attacks was progressively bloodier.”
The Report mentions that the war in Ukraine has also overshadowed peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan as, “Moscow has historically tended to lead peacemaking efforts over Nagorno-Karabakh.” As a result, according to the Report, there are two draft agreements floating around – one prepared by Russia and another Armenia and Azerbaijan themselves have developed with Western backing (many sections of which have contrasting text proposed by the two sides). Each draft tackles trade and stabilization of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, with the fate of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh left to a separate and so far uninitiated process.
The report concludes: “The danger is that the talks go nowhere or another flare-up sinks both the Moscow-led and West-backed tracks, and Azerbaijan takes what it can by force.”
December 31, 2022
10:35 p.m.: The National Security Service of the Republic of Artsakh, informs that Azerbaijani special services, using the Facebook pages of the citizens of Artsakh, are spreading false information about the alleged location of buses that are allocated to evacuate the residents of Stepanakert. The Artsakh NSS says the aim of the misinformation campaign is to spread panic among the population.
December 30, 2022
11:45 a.m.: The NKR InfoCenter reports that the International Committee of the Red Cross escorted another three patients in critical condition from Stepanakert to hospitals in Armenia.
December 29, 2022
9 p.m.: Yeghishe Kirakosyan, the Representative of Armenia on International Legal Matters informs that Armenia has applied to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the framework of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination proceedings against Azerbaijan asking the Court to order Azerbaijan to cease the blockade of Lachin Corridor and ensure the uninterrupted free movement of persons, vehicles and cargo along the Corridor.
2:23 p.m.: Reacting to Pashinyan’s proposal to send additional international peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov says they can be deployed only if both sides of the conflict, including Azerbaijan, agree to it. “Armenia is one of our closest allies, Azerbaijan is our very valuable and dear partner,” he added.
1:23 p.m.: Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova hits back at Pashinyan’s statements on Russian peacekeepers. “Criticism of Russia, the Russian peacekeeping contingent, in this situation, I believe, is unacceptable. We have repeatedly said that Russian peacekeepers are doing everything possible to resolve the situation on the ground. No public attacks help matters. We are working to improve this situation,” she said.
11:30 a.m.: The Artsakh government has invited international organizations, namely UN agencies and “specialized organizations”, to carry out an environmental examination around the operations of Base Metals, the mining company that operates the Kashen mine, which has been targeted by Azerbaijan since early December and is the official pretext of the blockade of the Lachin Corridor since December 12. The Artsakh government had decided earlier, on December 28, to temporarily halt the operation of the mine.
11 a.m.: At the cabinet session, Prime Minister Pashinyan said a task force has been established to provide assistance to the people of Artsakh. Pashinyan said its objective is to monitor humanitarian issues with the Artsakh authorities and provide the necessary assistance, including with the help of international organizations. Speaking about Russia’s role, Pashinyan said that if, for whatever reason, it is unable to ensure stability and security in Nagorno-Karabakh, then it must initiate a discussion in the UN Security Council and raise the issue of either granting the UN Security Council mandate to the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh or deploying an additional, multinational peacekeeping contingent there. He added that while Armenia is an “ardent supporter” of the Russian peacekeeping force’s presence in Nagorno-Karabakh, increasingly visible conduct of the Russian peacekeepers of becoming a silent witness to the forced “exodus of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh” is unacceptable for Armenia.Pashinyan also said there are indications that Azerbaijan is preparing a new military provocation, including in Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia’s prime minister also added that the Armenian government will provide an additional 4 billion dram ($10.2 million) assistance to Artsakh.
December 28, 2022
5:30 p.m.: The French ambassador to Azerbaijan was summoned to Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry. Azerbaijan expressed its concern to her “over the continuation and expansion of the slanderous campaign against Azerbaijan by various political forces of France and stressed that all this happens against the background of a lack of response from the French government.” Azerbaijan said the letter by leaders of several political parties to Macron contained “groundless accusations” towards Azerbaijan and encroaches on its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
3 p.m.: The opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF, Dashnaktsutyun) holds a rally against the Armenian government, which the party says has taken no action in the past two weeks to reopen the Lachin Corridor.
12:52 p.m.: Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Kristinne Grigoryan tweeted that the UN Human Rights Council should send a fact-finding mission to the Lachin Corridor, which has been blocked for 17 days now. She added that the fact that only ICRC emblemed vehicles are allowed movement through the corridor is sufficient proof that the blockade continues.
11 a.m.: The NKR Infocenter reports that three patients in critical condition have been transferred from Artsakh to hospitals in Armenia through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Azerbaijani news sources also report that four vehicles belonging to the Russian peacekeeping contingent passed through the blocked Lachin Corridor.
December 27, 2022
11:10 p.m.: In an open letter published in Le Monde, the leaders of France’s several major political parties, including the center-right Republicans, the Socialist Party, the liberal UDI and the Communist Party call on President Macron to “do everything possible to ensure the lasting security of the Armenians of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia.” In particular, they urge the French president to condemn Azerbaijan for violation of international law, occupation of a part of Armenia’s territory and war crimes, provide humanitarian assistance to Artsakh and economic assistance to Armenia, meet with representatives of Artsakh, ask EU and U.S. partners to take similar steps and impose sanctions on Azerbaijan. They also call Macron to take steps, along with EU and U.S. partners, to restart the Stepanakert airport and ensure the safety of air communication with Artsakh. They also urge the submission of a case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the prospect of the UN Security Council approving the deployment of an international peacekeeping force.
6 p.m.: The UN Human Rights Office calls on the sides to “resolve pending issues through a dialogue, urgently enable free and safe movement, protect human rights and avoid adverse humanitarian impact on civilians.”
5 p.m.: The UNICEF Armenia Office issued a statement calling for ensuring freedom and security of movement along the Lachin corridor, in line with previous agreements.
“Children are being impacted by the virtual closure of access to Nagorno Karabakh via the Lachin corridor. The longer the situation persists, the more children will experience the lack of basic food items, while access to many of the essential services they need for their survival, healthy growth and wellbeing will become more challenging. Many children have also been deprived of parental care as they have been separated from their parents or legal guardians,” the statement reads.
According to the organization, unblocking the Lachin Corridor is critical to ensure that children in Nagorno-Karabakh are protected and that humanitarian actors can safely and quickly reach those in need. UNICEF also notes that it continues to seek dialogue and work in coordination with all actors to gain access to children in these areas.
4:50 p.m.: A group of Artsakh Armenians have gathered near the headquarters of the Russian peacekeeping mission located on the territory of the Stepanakert airport, demanding a meeting with the Commander of the peacekeeping mission Andrei Volkov. The Artsakh Armenians are demanding that Vladimir Putin keep his promise and that the Road to Life be unblocked. The protesters are saying that if Volkov does not meet them they will block the road leading to the headquarters of the Russian peacekeeping mission. They are also planning to stage a sit-in until their demands are met and the situation is resolved.
4:30 p.m.: Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov commented on the situation in the Lachin Corridor and Armenia-Azerbaijan negotiations during his final press conference for 2022. Regarding the Lachin Corridor he stated that preventing Azerbaijani officials from monitoring the mines in Nagorno-Karabakh was a provocation by “those who declared themselves as heads of local organizations.” He called it unacceptable and an organized crime. Bayramov went on to say that since Azerbaijani authorities were not allowed to monitor the mines their “ecologists started a peaceful protest, which is their right and they are using it.”
Bayramov also touched upon Artsakh’s Defense Army, stating that Azerbaijan’s position on the issue of the “removal of illegal Armenian armed groups from Karabakh is absolutely firm.” He went on to say that although Armenian officials claim that Armenian forces have withdrawn from Nagorno-Karabakh it is not the case. According to Bayramov, it is Armenia’s obligation to withdraw its forces from Artsakh under the November 9 trilateral statement and Armenia is violating this obligation. “In many cases, the cause of tension in Karabakh is the activity of illegal armed groups there,” Bayramov said.
Commenting on Ruben Vardanyan’s appointment as State Minister, Bayramov stated that during the construction of the alternative road bypassing Lachin there was normal communication between construction workers and Armenians. He added that there were discussions between the Artsakh Armenians and Azerbaijani authorities about the operation of the Sarsang water reservoir. “However, a person with a tainted past was sent to the region,” Bayramov continued, stating that Azerbaijan is ready to prevent such provocations. He also added that while Azerbaijani authorities have had contacts with Armenians in Artsakh after the 2020 war and will continue to have contacts in the future, they will never talk to Ruben Vardanyan.
Bayramov also spoke about the final status of Artsakh, noting that Russia’s proposal to postpone discussions about the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is unacceptable for Azerbaijan. He added that Baku is negotiating on the five basic principles it proposed to Armenia in March this year (these five principles do not touch upon the status of Artsakh).
Speaking about Armenia-Azerbaijan negotiations Bayramov said that Yerevan’s position regarding the so-called Zangezur corridor will just harm Armenia, as the construction of the bridge over the Araks/Aras river between Azerbaijan and Iran has already started which will link Azerbaijan proper and Nakhichevan by a short route.
Bayravov also stated that during the border delimitation process Armenia must return eight villages to Azerbaijan (the eight Azerbaijani enclaves in the territory of Armenia).
3:51 p.m.: Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denies that Russia is pressuring Armenia to provide a corridor through its territory to Azerbaijan and to join the Russia-Belarus Union State. Peskov was responding to a query by an Armenian outlet about statements by Armenia’s Security Council secretary Armen Grigoryan on Public TV yesterday.
“Such statements can be viewed as provocative. They do not correspond to reality. None of the Russian officials have said this and have not communicated it to the Armenian side through anyone,” Peskov told news.am.
2:30 p.m.: Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the informal gathering of the CIS leaders. Before the closed door meeting kicked off, Putin noted that yesterday they held a trilateral meeting with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. He added that the main issues are “the settlement of the situation in the South Caucasus, Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, everything related to Karabakh.” Putin also said that these issues will be discussed in detail with Pashinyan.
Pashinyan, in his turn, stated that the main issue at the moment is the crisis that exists in the Lachin Corridor. He added that the Lachin Corridor, which has been closed for almost 20 days, is in the zone of responsibility of the Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh. Pashinyan went on to say that according to the November 9 statement the Lachin Corridor should be under the control of Russian peacekeepers, and Azerbaijan has guaranteed the unimpeded movement of passengers, goods, and people through the Lachin Corridor.
“Now it turns out that the Lachin Corridor is not under the control of Russian peacekeepers, and I would like to discuss that situation and the available variants,” Pashinyan concluded.
11:30 a.m.: The Offices of the Human Rights Defenders of Armenia and Artsakh published an ad hoc report with newly updated data on the humanitarian consequences of the 15-day blockade of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan.
The report summarized the Azerbaijani public discourse and analyzed the statements of Azerbaijani officials, concluding that since November, Azerbaijan’s political leadership prepared and directed public opinion on the blockade of the Lachin Corridor. Methods of inciting and inflaming Armenophobia and ethnic hatred towards the Armenians of Artsakh continued to be widely used by the Azerbaijani government propaganda machine, giving it a fake environmental context. The report also updated newly revealed facts on the participants of the so-called environmental action.
According to established practice, the report will be presented to organizations and actors with an international human rights mandate. It will also be available for international judicial instances where, inter alia, Armenia’s demand to unblock the only road connecting Artsakh with Armenia and the world by Azerbaijan is initiated.
December 26, 2022
7 p.m.: A group of activists and journalists from Armenia marched towards the Lachin Corridor trying to cross into Artsakh. They were met by a Russian peacekeeper who did not identify himself. The activists were told that the peacekeepers cannot open the road until there is an order from the president.
December 25, 2022
3:30 p.m.: Through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 10 tons of humanitarian assistance was sent to Artskah today, according to ICRC spokesperson Zara Amatuni. The cargo contained children’s and other food products and medicine and was delivered to health institutions in Artsakh to be redistributed from there. In addition to delivering the aid, the ICRC also facilitated the departure of four foreign nationals from Artsakh today. Amatuni told Hetq that she cannot disclose their nationalities but noted that they have chronic health conditions.
2 p.m.: Thousands of people took part in a rally in Renaissance Square in Stepanakert, reiterating their readiness to fight for the independence of Artsakh. In an appeal to Armenians worldwide and the international community, the people of Artsakh stated that the uninterrupted connection between Artsakh and Armenia cannot be a subject of any negotiations and bargaining. They demanded that the road connecting Artsakh and the outside world be restored without preconditions and immediately, and conditions put into place to mitigate such scenarios in the future.
December 24, 2022
4:29 p.m.: A protest took place in Stepanakert’s Renaissance Square, from where people proceeded to the Shushi-Karin Tak intersection at the Lachin Corridor, which Azerbaijanis have blockaded for the 13th consecutive day and where the Russian peacekeeping contingent is also situated. Tigran Petrosyan, the president of the Artsakh of Tomorrow party, who is also one of the organizers of the rally said that the protest is to make the voice of the Artsakh Armenians heard and the rally to where the Russian peacekeeping contingent is situated is a means to amplify the message.
3:43 p.m.: NKR InfoCenter reports that President of the Artsakh Republic Arayik Harutyunyan had a meeting with responsible officials of state structures and a number of private companies.
The military-political situation developed in the aftermath of the blockade of Artsakh by Azerbaijan was discussed during the meeting attended by NA Chairman Arthur Tovmasyan and State Minister, Head of the Operational Headquarter Ruben Vardanyan as well. President Harutyunyan noted that since December 3, the Azerbaijani side, using environmental pretexts, had been bringing forward demands unacceptable for the Artsakh Republic. According to the President, the consolidation of people and the political field is needed to overcome yet another challenge.
During the meeting, it was also announced that a rally will be held in Stepanakert on December 25 to confirm once again the determination of the people of Artsakh to live on their own land.
11:30 a.m.: Artskh’s Health Ministry reports that the four-month-old child who was diagnosed with intestinal leishmaniasis and was at the Arevik Medical Center in critical condition was transported to Armenia today through the mediation and accompaniment of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
December 23, 2022
8:46 p.m.: On December 23, Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan had a phone conversation with Brice Roquefeuil, the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair of France.
The interlocutors touched upon issues related to the normalization of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations and the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Presenting the situation resulting from blockade of the Lachin Corridor, Ararat Mirzoyan emphasized that Azerbaijan’s actions are aimed at creating a large-scale humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh and subjecting Nagorno-Karabakh to ethnic cleansing.
Minister Mirzoyan stressed that the international community should take efficient steps to force Azerbaijan to fully respect the provisions of the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020 and unconditionally unblock the Lachin Corridor, removing all obstacles for safe and unhindered transport communication. He emphasized the importance of sending the fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh and Lachin Corridor in order to assess the humanitarian situation, as well as the provision of unimpeded humanitarian access to Nagorno-Karabakh for relevant UN bodies.
8:25 p.m.: On December 23, the Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan had a phone conversation with Toivo Klaar, the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia. During the phone conversation, regional security and stability issues were touched upon. Mirzoyan presented the situation resulting from the illegal blockade of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan, including the humanitarian consequences for the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
5:30 p.m.: More than 200 French intellectuals and artists have signed under a call published by the French Le Figaro titled, “We Must Save the 120,000 Armenians of Artsakh!” The statement reads:, “With our collective conscience, with our united voices, with all the means available to each of us, let us fight against the tragedy that is already underway. We can save 120 thousand Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh.” The article also mentions Azerbaijan’s use of white phosphorous and the torture of Amrenians during the 2020 Artsakh War and called the closure of the Lachin corridor, which is the only connection of the Artsakh Armenians with the world, yet another torment by a dictatorship.
5 p.m.: Despite Armenia’s refusal to participate in the meeting planned in Moscow between the foreign ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia (Armenian Foreign Ministry had said that at the moment, the priority of the Armenian Foreign Minister is the unimpeded reopening of the Lachin Corridor,) Azerbaijan’s FM Jeyhun Bayramov and Russian FM Sergey Lavrov held talks in Moscow today. During a joint press conference after the meeting, Lavrov said that the position of Russia is that full transport communication through the Lachin Corridor must be restored as soon as possible, and the differences regarding the operation of mines in the region must be settled. He added that all sides must adhere to the November 9 trilateral statement.
Jeyhun Bayramov stated that Ruben Vardanyan (newly appointed State Minister) must immediately leave Artsakh. He added that the sooner Vardanyan leaves the better, as the local population is suffering under his presence. According to Bayramov, Vardanyan hinders them from reintegration into Azerbaijan. Bayramov also noted that before Vardanyan’s arrival there had been positive interactions between the government of Azerbaijan and the authorities in Artsakh, without further elaborating what those interactions were. Lavrov stated that Russia has nothing to do with Vardanyan and his appointment as State Minister in Artsakh.
10:05 a.m.: U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke separately with Armen Grigoryan, Armenia’s Security Council secretary, and Hikmet Hajiyev, Head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan. They discussed progress made in the EU and U.S.-facilitated peace talks since their joint September 27 meeting in Washington. All affirmed their commitment to negotiations with the goal of finalizing a peace agreement. Sullivan urged both sides to consider steps that will ease tensions and serve as the basis of good neighborly relations in the future.
Sullivan noted the United States’ “ongoing concern over impeded access to the Lachin Corridor and the growing humanitarian implications of this situation, and called for full restoration of free movement through the corridor.”
December 22, 2022
9:46 p.m.: Spain’s Congress of Deputies unanimously adopted a statement calling on Azerbaijan to ensure the freedom and safety of movement along the Lachin Corridor and urging international bodies to prevent a new humanitarian crisis in the region.
5:10 p.m.: In an appeal published in the newspaper Libération, the mayors of France’s three largest cities, Paris, Lyon and Marseille, called on France and the EU to impose sanctions on Azerbaijan for the blockade of the Lachin Corridor.
4:19 p.m.: Russia’s Foreign Ministry reports that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov discussed the situation in the Lachin Corridor and the disagreements regarding the quarrying of mines in the region. Lavrov underlined the necessity to implement the trilateral agreement on guaranteeing an unhindered connection between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
Regret was expressed for Yerevan’s decision not to participate in the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia scheduled for December 23 in Moscow to discuss the preparation of a peace treaty.
3:39 p.m.: Armenia asked to postpone the meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan scheduled for December 23 in Moscow. Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vahan Hunanyan told Armenpress, that at the moment, the priority of the Armenian Foreign Minister is the unimpeded reopening of the Lachin Corridor, which has been closed for 11 days, and addressing the problems created as a result of the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh. Hunanyan said the Armenian side had confirmed its readiness to participate in the meeting to be held in Moscow about two weeks ago, before the illegal blocking of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan..
Hunanyan also said that new proposals of the Armenian side regarding the document on the normalization of relations were sent to Azerbaijan as a sign of Armenia’s constructiveness.
3:06 p.m.: Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, says movement along the Lachin Corridor should be restored as a matter of urgency to prevent a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. “Those responsible for maintaining public order and security of the Corridor should take all the necessary steps to restore movement along that road as a matter of urgency and prevent a deterioration of the humanitarian situation. Furthermore, all relevant stakeholders should avoid escalation of tensions,” she said.
2 p.m.: Yeghishe Kirakosyan, Armenia’s Representative on International Legal Matters, said during a press conference that no action is expected from Azerbaijan following the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to apply interim measures against Baku for the ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor.
“Unfortunately the toolbox has limitations. Formally, there is the possibility of the following steps within the framework of the European Convention. There is the Committee of Ministers, whom the court can notify on the indicated measures, and the Committee of Ministers, as the main political body of the Council of Europe, is following the course of implementation of the court’s judgments and decisions. In case of necessity the Committee of Ministers must discuss and interfere in these issues, understand what steps are required politically in order to strengthen pressure against Azerbaijan. Naturally, there are procedures here as well, up to raising the issue of Azerbaijan violating its obligation in the European Court, issue of ousting Azerbaijan from the Council of Europe, but there is a very long road for that,” Kirakosyan said.
Kirakosyan said the ECHR decision is at least reflecting the objective reality and it can be used for political and diplomatic means.
2 p.m.: Hugh Williamson, the Europe & Central Asia division Director of Human Rights Watch, tweeted that HRW urges Azerbaijan and Russian peacekeepers to allow freedom of movement and access for humanitarian supplies through the Lachin Corridor.
2 p.m.: Russian officials, including presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov and MFA spokesperson Maria Zakharova, say they disagree with Pashinyan’s assessment that Russian peacekeepers are not fulfilling their obligations in regards to opening the Lachin Corridor.
11 a.m.: Azerbaijani news outlets report that five supply vehicles of the Russian vehicles crossed the Lachin Corridor. According to the Azerbaijani side this is evidence that Azerbaijani “peaceful protesters” did not block the corridor. 11 a.m.: During the cabinet meeting Prime Minister Pashinyan spoke about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Artsakh, stating that the situation remains critical. He stated that the main mandate of the Russian peacekeeping mission is to prevent such illegal activities by the Azerbaijani side and monitor the Lachin Corridor. Pashinyan also said that Russia is de facto not fulfilling its obligations of the November 9 statement.
Pashinyan said Armenia should work to bring an international fact-finding mission to the Lachin Corridor, be it from the UN or the OSCE.
December 21, 2022
9:09 p.m.: Artsakh’s Human Rights Defender Gegham Stepanyan posted a video on twitter where a truck belonging to the Russian peacekeeping mission is not allowed to pass through the corridor by the Azerbaijani “environmental activists”. Stepanyan tweeted: “The Russian peacekeeper approaches the so-called Azerbaijan ‘environmentalists’ asking to open the road in Lachin Corridor for the Russian peacekeepers’ convoy to pass. Being rejected he orders the tracks to turn around and go. Another proof of Azerbaijani fake narrative.”
9 p.m.: The Office of Armenia’s Representative of International Legal Matters reports that the European Court of Human Rights examined the request of Armenia to apply interim measures against Azerbaijan. A press release issued by the European Court of Human Rights says:
“Noting that the extent to which the Government of Azerbaijan is currently in control of the situation in the ‘Lachin Corridor’ was disputed and unclear at this stage, noting in addition the obligation of Azerbaijan under Article 6 of the Trilateral Statement signed on 9 November 2020 to “guarantee the security of persons, vehicles and cargo moving along the Lachin Corridor in both directions” and reminding them of their obligations under the Convention, the Court decided, in the interests of the parties and the proper conduct of the proceedings before it, to indicate to the Government of Azerbaijan, under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, to take all measures that are within their jurisdiction to ensure safe passage through the “Lachin Corridor” of seriously ill persons in need of medical treatment in Armenia and others who were stranded on the road without shelter or means of subsistence.
6:50 p.m.: The Office of Armenia’s Representative of International Legal Matters announced that the European Court of Human Rights has granted Armenia’s request and indicated interim measures in respect of Azerbaijan. Further details will be provided shortly.
2 p.m.: Armenian and Artsakh officials criticize Russia’s remarks at the UN Security Council discussion. Armenia’s parliament speaker Alen Simonyan said Russia was either unable or unwilling to call out Azerbaijan directly, unlike some countries not allied with Armenia. Artak Beglaryan, adviser to the State Minister, said the statement of the Russian representative did not reflect reality.
11:30 a.m.: Turkey’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, Cahit Bağcı, visits Azerbaijanis blockading the Lachin Corridor and tweets: “Karabakh is Azerbaijan.”
12:01 a.m.: Hugh Williamson, the Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch said that the “Prolonged blocking of the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to the outside world could lead to dire humanitarian consequences.”
“Regardless of who is blocking the road, Azerbaijan’s authorities and the Russian peacekeeping force deployed there should ensure that access remains open, to enable freedom of movement and ensure people have access to essential goods and services. The longer the disruption to essential goods and services, the greater the risk to civilians,” he added.
Human Rights Watch also said that those in control of the road and the area around it – Azerbaijani authorities and the Russian peacekeeping force – should ensure that vehicles with humanitarian goods can pass and that freedom of movement is not stopped.
The human rights watchdog added that whether the protesters have genuine environmental concerns or other grievances, Azerbaijan should facilitate the right to peaceful protest by interacting with the protesters in a way that ensures the road remains open and the protest does not deny Nagorno-Karabakh residents their rights of access to essential services and goods, and to freedom of movement.
12:00 a.m.: At midnight the UN Security Council discussed the blockade of the Lachin Corridor upon the request of Armenia. A number of countries directly called out Azerbaijan for the blockade of the Corridor demanding its immediate reopening. The representative of France Nathalie Broadhurst Estival underlined Azerbaijan’s commitment under the November 9, 2020 trilateral statement to ensure secure passage for vehicles through the corridor calling on the implementation of the statement. She also called for immediate, free and unhindered access for humanitarian organizations and UN agencies, especially the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to the populations concerned.
The representative of the U.S. Robert Wood said that impediment to use the Lachin Corridor sets back the peace process and undermines international confidence in it. He called on Azerbaijan and others responsible for the Corridor’s security to restore free movement, including for humanitarian and commercial use.
The representative of Norway, called on the parties to adhere to the agreements articulated in the November 9 trilateral statement stressing that Azerbaijan in particular must guarantee safe movement. And the representative of Ireland, Martin Gallagher called on the UN Security Council to do everything it can to prevent another human-made catastrophe emerging on its watch. He noted that without the free movement of people, goods, food and medical supplies, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh will surely face a humanitarian crisis this winter, adding that Azerbaijan must immediately and unconditionally restore freedom and security of movement along the Corridor in line with the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020.
The representative of Russia, Anna Evstigneeva expressed concern over the blocking of the Lachin Corridor, which, according to her, resulted from disagreements on the quarrying of mines in Nagorno-Karabakh. She recalled that both sides undertook commitments that must be strictly observed — including the obligation to ensure civilians do not face difficulties — and said that her country expects that a full transport corridor will be restored “in the very near future”. Evstigneeva also stated that Russia managed to achieve the partial opening of the corridor for vehicles and that talks are underway to ensure the access of Azerbaijani ecologists to the mines in Nagorno-Karabakh.
December 20, 2022
4:40 p.m.: For the first time since the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, Iran responded to the situation unfolding in Nagorno-Karabakh. Asked by reporters to comment on the situation, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said that Iran hopes that the blockade of the Lachin Corridor will be resolved through dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always emphasized that the full implementation of the terms of the trilateral statement on ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan can put an end to the disputes between the two countries,” Kanaani said.
2 p.m.: Hasmik Samvelyan, the press officer of Armenia’s Office of the Representative of International Legal Matters told Factor.am that Yerevan has not received a reply from the European Court of Human Rights regarding its request for interim measures against Azerbaijan for the blockade of the Lachin Corridor. The court had given Azerbaijan time until 4 p.m. CET, December 19 to respond to Armenia’s appeal.
11:01 a.m.: Armenia’s Ambassador at Large Edmon Marukyan tweeted: “‘Environmental activists’ of Azerbaijan have taken responsibility for checking humanitarian cargo and are preventing the unhindered passage of cargo through the Lachin Corridor. Basically, they have illegally reserved customs duties. This nonsense has to be stopped!”
10 a.m.: Armenia’s Foreign Ministry reports that based on Armenia’s request, the UN Security Council will discuss the situation in the Lachin Corridor today at midnight Yerevan time.
9:30 a.m.: Artsakh State Minister Ruben Vardanyan in a Facebook live provided updates on the situation on the Lachin Corridor. Vardanyan said that various reports about the corridor being open are not accurate, for as long as the Azerbaijani’s are there and are deciding which cars to stop and which to let through, it gives them the opportunity to technically set up a checkpoint. This, according to Vardanyan, is unacceptable.
December 19, 2022
One week ago today, so-called Azerbaijani “eco-activists” blocked the Lachin Corridor, the only lifeline Artsakh has with the rest of the world. There are reports of dwindling food supplies and medicine for 120,000 people who are now under siege; 1,100 people, 270 of whom are children, are stranded, unable to return home to their families.
9:40 p.m.: On December 19, the European Monitoring Mission, which had been deployed along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan since October 20, completed its mission. The European Council — in agreement with Armenia’s authorities — decided that the existing EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM Georgia) will deploy a transitional planning assistance team in Armenia to enhance the EU’s awareness of the security situation, and contribute to the planning and preparation of a possible civilian Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) mission in the country. The transitional planning assistance team is also expected to support the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in the EU-facilitated normalization process between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
7:15 p.m.: A seriously ill patient in Artsakh who needed medical assistance died today, according to Yerevan State Medical University Rector Armen Muradyan. Elective surgeries have been suspended in all hospitals. The Artsakh Health Ministry had earlier reported that as of this afternoon, 11 people are in the intensive care unit at the Republican Hospital in Stepanakert. There are also 12 children in NICU in Arevik Children’s Medical Association, among them, a 4-month old who is in extremely critical condition.1:25 p.m.: An ambulance carrying a patient from Stepanakert in critical condition passed through the blocked section of the Lachin Corridor. The ambulance was accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The patient must undergo immediate heart surgery and the ambulance is now on its way to Yerevan.
6:17 a.m.: U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, co-chair of the Congressional Armenian Caucus tweeted: “Joined my colleagues on a letter to the President of the United States urging him to take action to ensure the safety of the people of Artsakh after Azerbaijan has imposed a blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia, endangering thousands.”
December 18, 2022
3:33 p.m.: Pope Francis addressed the blockade of the Lachin Corridor stating that he is concerned about the situation. “I am concerned about the precarious humanitarian conditions of the people, which are in further danger of deteriorating during the winter season,” he said. He also called on the sides to find “peaceful solutions for the good of the people.”
December 17, 2022
8 p.m.: The Russian Ministry of Defense says in its daily communiqué that talks are underway and the Russian peacekeeping command is “waiting for the answers of the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides to proposals to resolve the situation.”
5:14 p.m.: Estonia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweets: “Continuing blockade of the Lachin Corridor causes severe human suffering of the local population in Nagorno-Karabakh and has damaging impact on the ongoing peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Estonia calls on parties to adhere to the trilateral statement of November 2020 and to return to peaceful negotiations.”
2:58 p.m.: Azerbaijan claims Armenian forces in Gegharkunik fired at Azerbaijani positions in the Kalbajar (Karvachar) region, while “illegal” Armenian units fired at Azerbaijani positions in the Lachin region. Armenia’s Defense Ministry refuted Azerbaijan’s claims.
12:07 p.m.: U.S. Congressman Adam Schiff and two dozen other congressmen sent a letter to President Biden, urging the administration to use all diplomatic tools at its disposal to ensure the safety of the people of Artsakh amid the growing crisis in the region. The members also called for the administration to cease all financial support to Azerbaijan and impose sanctions.
“Azerbaijan is once again weaponizing basic human necessities to further degrade already strained living conditions for the Armenians living in Artsakh. If this situation continues, a humanitarian crisis with potentially tragic consequences is imminent,” the members wrote in the letter.
“This is only the most recent example of Azerbaijan’s belligerence, which has followed a well-documented pattern of abuse against the Armenian population of Artsakh, motivated by the bombastic rhetoric of the Aliyev regime. We urge the Administration to use all tools at its disposal to ensure the safety of the people of Artsakh, now and in the future, including cessation of financial support to Azerbaijan and imposition of sanctions. We cannot allow Azerbaijan’s policy of aggression and intimidation to continue,” the members stated.
1 a.m.: Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel states at the U.S. State Department’s press briefing: “The closure of the Lachin Corridor has potentially severe humanitarian implications and, quite candidly, sets back the peace process. We’re pleased that natural gas to Nagorno-Karabakh has been restored. Disruptions to energy infrastructure could precipitate a humanitarian crisis, as I said. And we call on the restoration of free movement through the corridor as soon as possible, and the way forward to this is through negotiations.”
December 16, 2022
11:14 p.m.: German Commissioner for Human Rights and Humanitarian Assistance Luise Amtsberg tweets: “Free movement of people, vehicles and goods must be restored on the Lachin Corridor asap: otherwise rising risk of grave humanitarian effects for civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh. Dialogue and peace negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia should be the urgent focus!”
10:10 p.m.: Toivo Klaar, the EU Special Representative for South Caucasus tweets: “There’s a video circulating about an EUMCAP patrol observing the road leading to the Lachin Corridor. The patrol was then at a checkpoint about 1.2 km from the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. EUMCAP, in line with its mandate, operates exclusively on Armenian territory and did not enter the Corridor.”
9:58 p.m.: Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Katherine Clark tweeted: “Azerbaijan’s blockade of Artsakh is a humanitarian crisis in the making. Thousands of Armenian lives — particularly the elderly and children — are at risk if access to food, medicine & heat is not restored. We must help secure peace & hold Azerbaijan accountable.”
7:55 p.m.: According to the independent think tank Security Council Report, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh was discussed at the UN Security Council on the morning of December 16 at the request of France, behind closed doors. “No briefer is expected,” said the report.
6:15 p.m.: The four co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Azerbaijan and Armenia said in a joint statement that they are “deeply concerned by the interruption of freedom of movement in the Lachin corridor, causing considerable hardship to the population.” Ian Liddell-Granger (UK) and Lise Christoffersen (Norway), co-rapporteurs for Azerbaijan, and Kimmo Kiljunen (Finland) and Boriana Åberg (Sweden), co-rapporteurs for Armenia said “freedom and security of movement of persons and goods must be urgently restored along the corridor.”
PACE’s Monitoring Committee discussed the ongoing situation and the diplomatic efforts to achieve a long-lasting peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan with Toivo Klaar, EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, and Brice Roquefeuille, French Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group. They reiterated their readiness to “provide all political support needed, including by undertaking a fact-finding mission to the region.”
5:33 p.m.: Lithuania’s MFA tweets: “Deeply concerned about the continuing blockade of Lachin Corridor, resulting in severe humanitarian consequences for NagornoKarabakh. Such developments not only hinder the free movement, but also derail the whole peace process in South Caucasus.”
1:40 p.m.: A group of EU Monitoring Mission observers visit the Goris-Stepanakert highway to monitor the situation. 9:10 a.m.: Artsakh’s State Minister Ruben Vardanyan announced that Azerbaijan restored the gas supply to Artsakh without any preconditions and any compromise from Artsakh. He also stated that there is a possibility that the Lachin Corridor will be opened today. Vardanyan also called for a rally to take place on December 17, at 3 p.m. to show the strength of the people of Artsakh.
December 15, 2022
12:30 a.m.: Samantha Power, head of USAID tweeted: The Lachin Corridor must be re-opened immediately – the closure has the potential to cause a significant humanitarian crisis. This corridor is an essential route for the flow of much needed food and medical supplies that must be allowed to flow freely.
12:16 a.m.: Armenia’s Defense Ministry and Artsakh’s Defense Army refuted accusations by the Azerbaijani side that Armenian Armed Forces from Armenia and Artsakh opened fire in the direction of Azerbaijani military positions.
9:50 p.m.: The Office of Armenia’s Representative on International Legal Matters reports that the European Court of Human Rights has made a decision upon Armenia’s appeal to give Azerbaijan time until 4 p.m. on December 19 CET to respond to Armenia’s request on interim measures. The Court will make a decision after that.
7:30 p.m.: Anna Ifkovits, head of Eurasia Division at Switzerland’s Department of Foreign Affairs tweeted: “Switzerland is concerned about last developments around the Lachin Corridor and possible humanitarian consequences. Free passage through the corridor must be restored asap and negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed to address all pending issues.”
6:17 p.m.: The Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands tweeted that the Netherlands is closely following the situation in the Lachin corridor, calling on Azerbaijan to ensure freedom and security of movement. The Netherlands encourages Armenia and Azerbaijan to restart peace negotiations as soon as possible.
5:26 p.m.: The Azerbaijani “environmental activists” who have blocked the Lachin Corridor since December 12, have put forth new demands — to establish the control of Azerbaijani state institutions, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Border Service and the State Customs territory of Nagorno-Karabakh with their separate checkpoints, to place Border Service and Customs Committee checkpoints on the border with Armenia at the entrance of the Lachin Corridor.
Upon blocking the Lachin Corridor, the demand of the so-called eco-activists was entry to the mines of Kashen and Drmbon. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov told foreign diplomats and military attaches accredited in Azerbaijan that the demands of the activists have not been met yet.
2:37 p.m.: The Human Rights Defenders of Armenia and Artsakh published a joint Ad Hoc public report on “The Humanitarian Consequences of the Blockade of the Only Road Connecting Artsakh with Armenia and the World”. The report presents the facts which state the fabricated and false nature of the “protests” of the Azerbaijani “environmental activists” and their direct connection with the Azerbaijani government and special services. Facts on the continuous nature of the violation of the rights of persons are presented in the Report.
The Human Rights Defenders call upon the governments, international and regional organizations with a mandate to protect human rights, and other actors involved in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to take all possible measures to stop the humanitarian crisis in Artsakh that is deepening daily.
The report is based on the analysis of the events that took place on December 12-14, 2022. It will be sent to international and regional organizations and other actors involved in the resolution of the conflict, guaranteeing the continuous transfer of information and facts on the humanitarian crisis and the human rights violations as a result of the acts of the Azerbaijani side, which are a manifestation of their state-sponsored policy of Armenophobia.
1:40 p.m.: Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan tweeted that the closure of the Lachin Corridor is a gross violation of the November 9 trilateral statement by Azerbaijan, since according to point 6 of the statement, the corridor is under the control of the Russian peacekeepers and Azerbaijan guarantees the safety of movement of citizens, transport and goods through it.
1:40 p.m.: A number of MEPs from the European Parliament called on Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, to use the powers of the European Union to take concrete steps and ensure the safety of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The MEPs state that since the end of the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan has been using various methods of creating “extremely hard and hopeless” living conditions for the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, including military provocations, psychological intimidation and cutting off the gas in freezing winter temperature. They add that the EU cannot allow the policy of intimidation and aggression from Azerbaijan to continue.
1:36 p.m.: Russia’s Foreign Ministry Representative Maria Zakharova stated during a weekly briefing that Russia is concerned about the situation in the Lachin Corridor which, according to her, is the result of a disagreement regarding the exploitation of mines between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Zakharova also said that Moscow hopes that transportation will be restored through the corridor in the near future.
She also called any criticism of the action of the peacekeepers deployed in Artsakh as unfounded, stating that “the Russian peacekeeping contingent is effectively fulfilling its tasks, acting as a guarantor of stability in the region.”
1:07 p.m.: The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on Azerbaijani authorities to ensure freedom and security of movement and transport in both directions along the Lachin Corridor without any preconditions in compliance with the Tripartite Statement of November 9, 2020. The local population should be spared from hardships and distress, the statement says.
12:37 p.m.: Marina Kaljurand, Chair of the Delegation for Relations with the South Caucasus, expressed her “grave concern” regarding the actions of the Azerbaijani state authorities and the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, noting that safe movement through the Corridor is guaranteed under the November 9 trilateral statement. She urged the government of Azerbaijan to fulfill its obligations under the statement and called for utmost restraint in terms of both actions and rhetoric.
11:30 a.m.: Artsakh’s State Minister Ruben Vardanyan told the Russian Kommersant that in order to avoid dependence on Azerbaijan, Artsakh requires a humanitarian air corridor, allowing planes with humanitarian aid to land at the Stepanakert airport. For this, Vardanyan noted, pressure from the international community is required. He added that a functional airport and a humanitarian corridor are important conditions to ensure the Armenian community stays in Artsakh and to prevent situations like the current crisis from happening again.
11:12 a.m.: The Artsakh Defense Army refutes Azerbaijani MoD’s claims that Artsakh forces fired at Azerbaijani positions earlier today.
11:08 a.m.: Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić expresses concern for the humanitarian situation around the Lachin Corridor. Dialogue is key to avoiding escalating tensions. The CoE is ready to assist reconciliation efforts between Armenia and Azerbaijan through confidence-building measures.
11 a.m.: Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addressed the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Artsakh during the cabinet meeting, blaming Azerbaijan for grossly violating the November 9 trilateral statement. He also stated that Azerbaijan is continuously implementing the “Artsakh-Without-Armenians” policy, adding that Armenia must do everything so that this policy is condemned by the international community.
Pashinyan also thanked the countries and organizations that condemned Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin Corridor, stating that it is strange that some friendly countries are silent on the issue.
10:21 a.m.: In a meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres in New York, Foreign Affairs Minister Ararat Mirzoyan briefed him about the blockade of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan and disruptions of gas supply to Nagorno-Karabakh and the serious humanitarian challenges as a result
10:11 a.m.: Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry claims “illegal” Armenian armed units in Nagorno-Karabakh, in the region of Martuni, used small arms to fire at the direction of Azerbaijani positions. Azerbaijan also claims that earlier, on December 14, Armenian armed forces fired at Azerbaijani positions in the Kalbajar (Karvachar) and Lachin (Kashatagh) regions from the area of Vardenis, Gegharkunik and Goris, Syunik.
9:25 a.m.: Armenia’s Defense Ministry reports that Azerbaijani Armed Forces opened fire from different caliber firearms in the direction of Armenian military positions near the village of Norabak in the Gegharkunik region and the village of Srashen in the Syunik region. The Armenian side did not report any casualties. As of 8:30 a.m., the situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border is relatively stable.9 a.m.: The UN Secretary-General António Guterres “urges the sides to de-escalate tensions and to ensure freedom and security of movement along the [Lachin] corridor, in line with the previously reached agreements” and “”reiterates his support to the ongoing mediation efforts in the region.”
1:53 a.m.: Freedom House tweets: “We call on the international community to reiterate its support for negotiations without coercion. Azerbaijan must cease its blockage of the Lachin corridor— the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to the outside world. We are disturbed by reports that Azerbaijan has also cut off the gas supply to Nagorno-Karabakh once again. We call on the Azerbaijani government to restore unhindered gas supplies to the people of the region. Finally, we urge the OSCE Minsk Group countries and the sides of the Nov. 9, 2020 trilateral statement to take the necessary steps to ensure the rights and security of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh, including their freedom of movement.”
December 14, 2022
10 p.m.: During his speech at the UNSC “New Orientation for Reformed Multilateralism” Ministerial Meeting Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan noted that Armenians witnessed first-hand the decline of multilateralism with Azerbaijan’s continuous aggression against Armenia and Artsakh. Mirzoyan added that the international community proved unable to prevent Azerbaijan’s unjustified use of force against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, which resulted in thousands of dead, wounded and a new wave of displacement.
Mirzoyan noted that the issue of the rights and security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh is still to be addressed, adding that the people of Nagorno-Karabakh should be able to live in dignity and peace in their own homeland. “Moreover, the international humanitarian bodies, including those of the United Nations, are still unable to provide much needed aid to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, essentially leaving them behind, in stark contrast to the global pledge of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said.
Speaking about the current humanitarian crisis as a result of the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, Mirzoyan said “Ironically, not only international humanitarian organizations, but even people living in Nagorno Karabakh are denied access. It is already the third day that Azerbaijan, grossly violating its international obligations, has blocked the movement through the Lachin Corridor – the only lifeline of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is now essentially cut off from Armenia and the outside world. As we speak, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh have been deprived of the right to free movement: mothers are separated from their children, terminally ill people can’t get medical supplies and help. Even worse, in freezing winter conditions, the gas supply to Nagorno-Karabakh has been severed by Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh, dear colleagues, is facing the imminent threat of food, energy and overall humanitarian crisis which if not addressed urgently will lead into a catastrophe.”
Foreign Minister Mirzoyan added that in such conditions, the leadership of Azerbaijan claims that they are ready to provide rights and security guarantees for Armenians and that no international mechanism or presence is required. “What we have at hand is illustrative of how they imagine these guarantees,” he noted, adding that along with Azerbaijan’s refusal to hold dialogue with Stepanakert on their rights and security, this position testifies to the fact that Baku continues pursuing a genocidal policy towards the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Mirzoyan also spoke about the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process, stating that Baku refuses to fulfill its obligations in refusing to return the Armenian POWs, as well as to withdraw from Armenia’s sovereign territory.
10 p.m.: UK Minister for Europe Leo Docherty tweeted: “Blocking the Lachin Corridor and disrupting gas supplies in winter risks severe humanitarian consequences. The UK counts on both Azerbaijan and Armenia to abide by all ceasefire commitments. A lasting settlement can only be reached through peaceful, diplomatic means.”
8:55 p.m.: The Office of Armenia’s Representative on International Legal Matters reported that, Armenia, in accordance with the Statute of the International Court of Justice has informed the Court about the blockade of the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor by Azerbaijan and the violation of the rights of the Artsakh population.
At the same time, Armenia has applied to the European Court of Human Rights requesting ECtHR to indicate interim measures against Azerbaijan and obligate Azerbaijan to unblock the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor.
8:40 p.m.: The Foreign Ministry of Canada tweeted that Canada is closely following the closure of the Lachin Corridor. The Foreign Ministry calls on Azerbaijan authorities to reopen the corridor and ensure freedom of movement to avoid any potential humanitarian impact.
6:47 p.m.: The Dutch Parliament adopted a resolution on the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, urging its government to call on the European Council to make a joint appeal to Azerbaijan to stop the hostile actions against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and open the corridor.
5:25 p.m.: Heads of Foreign Diplomatic Missions and representatives of international organizations accredited in Armenia were briefed about the ongoing situation on the Lachin Corridor.
Deputy Foreign Minister Vahe Gevorgyan told the foreign diplomats that Azerbaijan grossly violates its international obligations with actions aimed at causing a humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh and proves that without an international mechanism, a real dialogue between Stepanakert and Baku is not possible. He emphasized that Azerbaijan’s actions undermine the efforts of the Armenian side to establish stability and peace in the region.
4 p.m.: According to the NKR InfoCenter, Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan signed a decree on a number of arrangements being carried out in the scope of martial law restrictions on the territory of the Artsakh Republic.
According to the decree, in order to ensure the normal life of the population of Artsakh and prevent possible threats conditioned by the situation created as a result of the blockade of the Stepanakert-Goris highway by Azerbaijan on December 12, 2022 and based on the law “On Legal Regime of Martial Law”, it was decided:
-To transfer special purpose objects for state and local self-government bodies, the defense system, normal functioning of the state and the economy to the regime of martial law.
-If necessary, to restrict the right of free movement in the territory of the Artsakh Republic, as well as to establish a special regime for leaving the specified territory.
-To carry out the protection of facilities that ensure the vital activity of the population, the activities of specially protected objects and transport, as well as those that pose the greatest threat to the life and health of the population and the environment.
-To restrict the right to freedom of assembly, to prohibit strikes and other events that suspend or terminate the activities of organizations, if necessary, to suspend the activities of organizations that carry out propaganda and other activities directed against the defense capability and security of the Artsakh Republic, in the manner prescribed by law.
-To establish an Operational Headquarter for ensuring the realization of the arrangements stipulated by this decree and application of temporary restrictions of rights and freedom.
-To appoint Artsakh Republic State Minister Ruben Vardanyan Head of the Operational Headquarter.
-To establish that the instructions of the Head of the Operational Headquarter arising from this decree are binding on state and local self-government bodies, as well as individuals and legal entities.
-To instruct the Government of the Artsakh Republic to establish a special procedure for the sale, purchase and circulation of food, medicine, and essential goods immediately after this decree enters into force.
3:48 p.m.: The Armenian Parliament adopted a statement regarding the blockade of the Lachin Corridor and the disruption of the gas supply to Artsakh, calling on Russia to take necessary measures to ensure that the provisions of the November 9, 2020 trilateral statement are implemented in the zone of responsibility of the Russian Peacekeeping mission.
The parliament calls on the international community to strongly and directly condemn the actions of Azerbaijan and take measures to prevent the unfolding of a humanitarian disaster in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the statement, under the current circumstances, it is necessary to launch or restore the international mechanisms for guaranteeing the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The parliament also called on the UN Security Council and OSCE Minsk Group to send a fact-finding mission to Nagorno-Karabakh to monitor the humanitarian situation on the ground.
3:20 p.m.: Javier Colomina, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy and Special Representative for the Caucasus & Central Asia, tweeted his concern about the developments around the Lachin Corridor. According to Colomina, it’s key to guarantee the freedom of movement and address humanitarian issues. NATO urges Armenia and Azerbaijan to act with restraint, avoid further escalation and fully engage in negotiations.
3 p.m.: The Foreign Ministry of Cyprus calls on Azerbaijan to immediately restore transportation through the Lachin Corridor and the gas supply to Artsakh to prevent the further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the region. 2:18 p.m.: Azerbaijan’s Azerigas gas company announced that it has nothing to do with the disruption of gas supply to Artsakh. The company also stated that gas is supplied to Artsakh by Armenia adding that Artsakh is not integrated into the Azerbaijani gas supply infrastructure.
2 p.m.: The Human Rights Defenders of Armenia and Artsakh issued a joint statement, calling on the governments and international actors involved in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to use all possible diplomatic measures to stop the siege and blockade of Artsakh, restore the natural gas supply, and stop the impending humanitarian disaster and to guarantee the rights of the people living in Artsakh.
According to the statement, taking into consideration the previous incidents of the targeting and terrorizing of the civilian population, the analysis of all these facts since the beginning of December summarizes the goals of the Azerbaijani state policy: the depopulation of Artsakh of its native Armenian population and their extermination through a humanitarian crisis.
1:36 p.m.: Artsvik Minasyan, the Secretary of the “Armenia” Alliance parliamentary faction and member of the ARF, told reporters that the actions of the Russian peacekeepers on the Lachin Corridor are insufficient. According to him the peacekeepers must resort to stronger measures to solve the issue.
1:11 p.m.: Artsakh’s State Minister Ruben Vardanyan chaired a consultation in Stepanakert to discuss the situation resulting from Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin Corridor and stoppage of the natural gas supply. Vardanyan was briefed on the current situation regarding ensuring fuel provision and the steps to be implemented under gas, diesel and petrol shortage were discussed. It was underscored that the use of existing resources should be used as sparingly as possible. Vardanyan stressed the need to urgently develop procedures for providing fuel to essential services. Authorities were tasked to offer alternative means to ensure uninterrupted operation of industrial plants. The accommodation and food provision issues for citizens of Artsakh who are currently in Armenia and unable to return home were also discussed and relevant instructions were issued.
Earlier in the morning Vardanyan went live to address the concerns of the public.
1:10 p.m.: The Human Rights Defenders of Armenia and Artsakh issued a joint statement that reads:
It has already been two days that the only road connecting Artsakh with Armenia and the world remains blocked. The movement of people and goods was deliberately and premeditatedly blocked; 120,000 children, older persons, women and men in Artsakh have found themselves in an existential trap.
As a direct result of the blockade of the movement, 1100 people, including more than 270 children, cannot return home. Patients in need of urgent medical care cannot be transported to Armenia for professional care. The supply of food and medical supplies has stopped.
The right to life, health, an adequate standard of living, freedom of movement, education, and other fundamental rights of 120.000 persons are endangered.
Yesterday, at 18:00, the Azerbaijani side also cut the natural gas supply to Artsakh in these severe winter conditions, applying the same methods they used in march to create a humanitarian crisis. People are deprived of heating, and hot water; medical institutions cannot provide primary medical care, and the educational process in the educational institutions of Artsakh has been stopped.
To “guarantee” the freedom of assembly of Azerbaijani “environmentalists” who blocked the vital road, new groups of “activists” in civilian clothes are being transported to the place where the “protest” is held by the Azerbaijani side. Moreover, there is undeniable proof that there are servicemen of the Azerbaijani special service among the people who have blocked the road. The majority of the participants of the “protest” are representatives of non-governmental organizations who are exclusively financed by the Azerbaijani state.
In parallel, the propaganda of Armenophobia is achieving its purposes, maintaining the level of hatred of ethnic Armenians by the Azerbaijani society. Through the Azerbaijani mass media and social media platforms, the state propaganda machine is fueling hatred and anger of the Azerbaijani public, against the Russian peacekeeping contingent.
Taking into consideration the previous incidents of the targeting and terrorizing of the civilian population, the analysis of all these facts since the beginning of December summarizes the goals of the Azerbaijani state policy: the depopulation of Artsakh of its native Armenian population and their extermination through a humanitarian crisis.
To prevent a new genocide in these conditions, we call upon the governments and international actors involved in the resolution of the conflict to use all possible diplomatic measures to stop the siege and blockade of Artsakh, restore the natural gas supply, and stop the impending humanitarian disaster and to guarantee the rights of the people living in Artsakh.
12:40 p.m.: The Armenian Apostolic Church has issued a statement condemning Azerbaijan’s actions on the Lachin Corridor. Catholicos Karekin II has appealed to sister churches, international and inter-church organizations to counter Azerbaijani actions. The Church expects “proper assessment” by the international community and calls on Allahshukur Pashazadeh, the Grand Mufti of the Caucasus and Azerbaijan’s chief cleric, to prevent provocations by Azerbaijan.
12:22 p.m.: Artak Beglaryan, the advisor to the State Minister of Artsakh has announced that he will be staging a sit-in in front of the UN office in Yerevan and issued the following statement:
We are starting an indefinite sit-in and movement in Yerevan, at this stage in front of the UN office, with the following demands:
- UN bodies should condemn Azerbaijan’s genocidal actions and blockade against the people of Artsakh.
- The UN Security Council should address the issue of ensuring the security of the people of Artsakh by providing clear international guarantees.
- At least the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, Russia, France, Great Britain and China) and the European Union must condemn Azerbaijan’s actions and take practical measures to rein in Azerbaijan.
I call on the society of Armenia:
- To get out of the stupor of indifference and helplessness, everyone contributes in their own way to the holy work of protecting Artsakh and guaranteeing the Armenian future.
- To put pressure on the embassies of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council in particular by various public actions, demanding clear actions, both individually and in the UN format;
- To speak and write in all possible places about the importance and current need of Artsakh, both in Armenian and in foreign languages.
- Whoever can join the sit-in or other protest actions, let them join, because our compatriots of Artsakh are suffering much greater deprivations now.
I call on our compatriots in the Diaspora:
- Organize acts of public disobedience in their countries, demanding practical steps from their governments to protect Artsakh and curb Azerbaijan.
- Launch awareness campaigns aimed at presenting the needs of the Armenians of Artsakh and Azerbaijani crimes to foreign societies and media.
Artsakh is the steadfast value for all Armenians, and this struggle belongs to all of us.
At 3 p.m. I am holding a press conference in front of the UN office. I will introduce the rest then.
12:22 p.m.: Gegham Stepanyan, the Human Rights Defender of Artsakh tweeted: The false “goodwill” of Azerbaijan has no limits. Blocking 120,000 people and offering medical assistance reminds how 42 elderly and people with mental health problems were killed by Azerbaijanis in their homes in Hadrut, Shushi, and other occupied communities after the 2020 Artsakh War.
11:30 a.m.: Andranik Kocharyan, the Chair of the Parliamentary Commission on Defense and Security sent a letter to his counterparts in the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO, informing them about the “ongoing war by Azerbaijan against the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.”
In the letter, Kocharyan notes that the blockade of the Lachin Corridor is a manifestation of Azerbaijan’s genocidal policy against Artsakh, calling for his NATO counterparts to raise their voices and “assist the people of Nagorno-Karabakh in safeguarding their right to life.”
11:23 a.m.: NKR InfoCenter reports that due to the Azerbaijani blockade of the Lachin Corridor and the shutting off of the natural gas supply, there is a shortage of all kinds of fuel in Artsakh. The authorities have asked businesses to “switch to a saving mode.” Priority will be given to ambulances, public transportation and security services.
11:12 a.m.: An open-source investigation by CivilNet found that many of the “eco-activists” blocking the highway are affiliated with and/or funded by the Azerbaijani government.
11 a.m.: The U.S. Embassy in Baku issued a statement, noting that the closure of the Lachin Corridor has serious humanitarian effects and prolongs the peace process. “We urge the Azerbaijani government to restore free movement along the corridor. The way to the future is through negotiations,” the statement says.
10:30 a.m.: The French Foreign Ministry called for the unblocking of the Lachin Corridor without any conditions and to respect the rights of the Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh. The French Foreign Ministry also reminded that with the November 9, 2020 trilateral ceasefire statement Azerbaijan committed to ensuring the free movement of people, transport and goods through the Lachin Corridor.
5:30 a.m.: U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said at a press briefing: “I want to be especially clear that any disruption to energy infrastructure could precipitate a humanitarian crisis, especially as we’re entering the winter months. If deliberate, it’s unacceptable to target the civilian population of Nagorno-Karabakh.”
1:09 a.m.: The Co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., Gus M. Bilirakis, Jackie Speier, David G. Valadao, and Adam B. Schiff issued a statement condemning Azerbaijan’s “aggressive actions”.
“It is disturbing that the only time the people of Azerbaijan are allowed to freely protest is when it threatens the lives of Armenians. Their blockade of the Lachin Corridor appears coordinated and intended to shut off the only remaining supply route for much of Artsakh’s food, medical supplies and transport, and other essential goods, not to mention further restrict the people of Artsakh’s freedom of movement,” reads the statement. The Congressmen said that shutting down vital lifelines by Azerbaijan is “weaponizing critical infrastructure and manufacturing a humanitarian crisis for Armenians living in Nagorno Karabakh.” They call on the U.S. and European partners to “use every diplomatic tool at their disposal to halt this clearly fabricated crisis created by Azerbaijan.”
December 13, 2022
11:50 p.m.: U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price tweeted: “Closure of the Lachin Corridor has severe humanitarian implications and sets back the peace process. We call on the government of Azerbaijan to restore free movement through the corridor. The way forward is through negotiations.”
10:05 p.m.: NKR InfoCenter says fuel and food reserves are sufficient in Artsakh. The authorities are “monitoring the food supply process” and working to prevent unreasonable inflation.
9:40 p.m.: Azerbaijani presidential adviser Hikmet Hajiyev told ambassadors and military attaches in Baku that “illegal exploitation of mineral deposits” in Nagorno-Karabakh must stop and environmental monitoring must be ensured. He stated that the “peaceful protest” on the Stepanakert-Goris highway near Shushi and “justified claims of Azerbaijani civil society must be respected.” He claimed the road is not blocked by the “protesters,” except for trucks supposedly carrying mineral deposits. “All civilian transport vehicles can move freely,” he falsely insisted.
8:50 p.m.: NKR InfoCenter states: Due to Azerbaijan blocking the Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia and the outer world, 1,100 civilians, 270 of whom are minors, are unable to return to their homes. Thanks to the cooperation between the Artsakh Government, the Syunik regional administration and the Goris Municipality, they have taken shelter in the Syunik Region; some took shelter in the villages of the Berdadzor sub-region of the Shushi region. The officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs serving the area are in constant contact with the citizens. With this kind of provocation, Azerbaijan continues to violate the rights of free movement, proper medical assistance and other humanitarian rights of thousands of citizens.
8:11 p.m.: Artsakh’s Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports informs that due to the disruption of the only pipeline supplying natural gas to Artsakh by Azerbaijan, classes in educational institutions that are heated with gas will be temporarily suspended from December 14. Additional information will be provided regarding the resumption of classes. All schools heated with wood or electricity will continue classes.
8:08 p.m.: Artsakh’s Minister of State Ruben Vardanyan said that schools in Artsakh will be closed tomorrow.
8 p.m.: Over 30 hours after the Azerbaijani “eco-activists” blocked the Lachin Corridor, the Russian Defense Minister also responded to the incident in its daily communique regarding the peacekeeping mission in Artsakh, stating that the command of the peacekeeping forces is negotiating with the Azerbaijani side to restore transportation through the corridor.
7 p.m.: The NKR InfoCenter reports that Azerbaijan has suspended the natural gas supply to Artsakh. The suspension of the fuel supply under such weather conditions is a humanitarian and economic terrorism, which Azerbaijan is consistently carrying out against the civilian population of Artsakh.
6:53 p.m.: Artsakh human rights defender Gegham Stepanyan says Azerbaijan has cut off the gas supply in the entire territory of Artsakh.
6:50 p.m.: Davit Babayan, acting Foreign Minister of Artsakh, sent a letter to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić related to Azerbaijan’s blockade of the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia, resulting in a humanitarian disaster in Artsakh.
The letter reads that Azerbaijan has violated the fundamental rights of some 120,000 individuals residing in Nagorno-Karabakh, among them children, elderly, persons with disabilities, and women.
The document stresses that Azerbaijan fails to respect the provisions of the European Convention of Human Rights, whose protection also extends to those living in conflict areas, guarantees protection of the right to live, right to freedom of movement and right to security, among others.
In this context, it calls to:
– swiftly and decisively employ the full arsenal of Council of Europe’s instruments to urgently lift Azerbaijan’s illegal and inhuman blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh’s population;
– dispatch an urgent Council of Europe monitoring mission to the area to prevent further violations of the Convention;
– suspend Azerbaijan’s rights of representation in the organization, due to Azerbaijan’s serious violation of Article 3 of the Statute of the Council of Europe.
Copies of the letter were also sent to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Commissioner for Human Rights, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Babayan has been unable to return to Stepanakert because of the ongoing blockade of the Corridor.
6:50 p.m.: Hikmet Hajiyev, the Advisor to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said at a meeting with representatives of the diplomatic corps that Baku sent letters to Russian peacekeepers and that they are in touch with their commander.
“Everyone is well aware that during the years of occupation and in the period after the liberation of territories from occupation, issues related to the sovereignty of Azerbaijan cause serious concern in our society. Therefore, Azerbaijani civil society activists, representatives of non-governmental organizations, other activists and groups gathered at the intersection of the Shusha-Khankendi-Lachin road and expressed their protest,” Hajiyev said, adding that the so-called activists demand an end to environmental terrorism in Nagorno-Karabakh.
6:49 p.m.: President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan tweeted: “By blocking the Lachin Corridor over 120,000 kids, elderly, women and men are deprived from vital access to Armenia and the rest of the world. The second day of yet another challenge to the Artsakhi People, facing existential threat. The international community’s urgent and targeted reaction is a must!”
6:49 p.m.: President of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan said in parliament that he expects the Russian peacekeepers to “make more practical steps.” He said he expects that France will “use its channels” as well.
6:45 p.m.: Artsakh’s acting Foreign Minister Davit Babayan, Human Rights Defender (HRD) Gegham Stepanyan, the advisor of the State Minister Artak Beglaryan and Artsakh’s Permanent Representative in Armenia Sergei Ghazaryan held a press conference in Yerevan. During the press conference, Gegham Stepanyan noted that the HRD office received an alert that medical supplies available in medical centers may be enough for several days only, and Artsakh may face serious problems. He added that the same goes for food and fuel supplies.
According to the HRD, the people blocking the road are not environmental activists, and there are reports that they are directed by the authorities, there are also representatives of special forces among them.
Davit Babayan noted that the Russian peacekeepers are authorized to carry out only a peacekeeping mission in Artsakh, thereby they cannot use force. He added that it was proposed to the Russian side several times to increase the number of peacekeepers, because 1,980 people are not enough.
“Only two or three Russian peacekeepers stood against this Azerbaijani invasion. We have proposed that the peacekeeping mission be given an international mandate that would add legitimacy and prevent similar provocations,” Babayan said.
According to Artak Beglaryan, Azerbaijan’s excuse for closing the only road connecting Artsakh with the world is not valid. He noted that not only does the Kashen copper and molybdenum mine comply with all environmental standards, it is located 20 km from the nearest Azerbaijani settlement and there are no water resources nearby.
1:10 p.m.: Artsakh’s Ministry of Health announced that as a result of the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, the transfer of patients with serious health problems to Yerevan remains impossible. The Healthy Ministry said that it is making all possible efforts to provide them with professional care, while keeping in touch with medical specialists in Yerevan. There is currently no shortage of medicines and medical supplies for first aid, however, the supply of medicine and medical supplies has become impossible.
1:10 p.m.: Peter Stano, the spokesperson of external affairs for the EU, issued a statement saying that the European Union has been following with serious concern the various developments around the Lachin corridor since the beginning of December: “The EU calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure freedom and security of movement along the corridor, in line with the trilateral statement of 9 November 2020. Restrictions to such freedom of movement cause significant distress to the local population and create humanitarian concerns. Other concerns can and should be addressed through dialogue and consultations with the parties involved. The EU reiterates its call for restraint and stands ready to contribute to the above-mentioned efforts.”
1:07 p.m.: The Parliament of Artsakh issued the following statement on the prevention of the threats of a humanitarian disaster of the people of the Republic of Artsakh:
“Yesterday, December 12, a group of so-called environmentalists and journalists, violating all norms of international law, as well as the provisions of the tripartite declaration of November 9, 2020 on the cessation of all military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh, closed the Stepanakert-Goris highway again, which is ongoing until now. These provocative actions, directly organized by official Baku, are aimed at the implementation of the elaborate plans to depopulate Artsakh, to forcefully include it in its composition. After November 9, 2020, Azerbaijan, ignoring the signed Tripartite Declaration, having illegally occupied many territories of the Republic of Artsakh, regularly shells Armenian settlements, kills and terrorizes civilians, disrupting their normal life in every possible way. Claims and actions of environmentalists have no substantiated justifications, because no recorded environmental threat to the neighboring territories of Azerbaijan and the population living there have been recorded over the previous 30 years, which speaks of the Republic of Artsakh as a responsible entity that respects the norms of international law.
“The National Assembly of the Republic of Artsakh states, that this course of action of the military and political authorities of Azerbaijan is a gross violation of the reached agreements, international obligations, principles and norms of international law, which threatens Artsakh with a humanitarian crisis, bringing our entire people to the brink of genocide.
“The authorities of the Republic of Armenia are obliged to take objective and effective steps in order to restore the uninterrupted land connection between the Republic of Artsakh and the Republic of Armenia as well as to protect the rights of citizens of the Republic of Artsakh.
“We expect from the Russian Federation, as a participant in the tripartite statement of November 9, 2020 and guarantor of peace and stability in the region, to take immediate action to curb Azerbaijan’s extremist ambitions. Otherwise, we will face the question of the right of Artsakh Armenians to exist and live in their native land as well as the authority of the Russian peacekeeping mission.
“We call on international organizations and UN member states to condemn the genocidal policy of Azerbaijan, to urgently convene a session of the UN Security Council and apply practical steps in order to prevent it.
“We are appealing to our compatriots in Armenia and the Diaspora to use all opportunities to speak on different platforms about the humanitarian disaster created by Azerbaijan in Artsakh, to stand up for the protection of the rights of Artsakh Armenians and to be ready to take necessary actions accordingly.
“Dear compatriots, our fight is continuous and the will to live in the native land – unbreakable.”
12:20 p.m.: A security council session was held in Yerevan, chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. In addition to the members of the Security Council, President Vahagn Khachaturyan, President of the National Assembly Alen Simonyan, the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister Arayik Harutyunyan, the head of the National Assembly Civil Contract faction Hayk Konjoryan also participated in the meeting. The developments taking place in the region were discussed, in particular, the situation on the Lachin Corridor.
11:30 a.m.: The Foreign Ministry of Armenia issued the following statement regarding the closure of the Lachin Corridor:
“In the morning of December 12, 2022, a group from the Republic of Azerbaijan, presenting themselves as environmental activists, set up tents near Shushi, blocking the normal and unhindered movement in the Lachin Corridor, which was created by the trilateral statement of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the President of the Russian Federation on November 9, 2020, in order to ensure the connection between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.
“The propagandistic preparations for closing the Lachin Corridor started months ago and it is obvious that this provocation was organized by the state bodies of Azerbaijan, aiming to cut off Nagorno-Karabakh from the Republic of Armenia and thus from the outside world.
“As a result of this operation, the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh have been deprived of the right to free movement, Nagorno-Karabakh is facing the imminent threat of a food and humanitarian crisis.
“The unfolding situation is in direct contrast with point 6 of the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020, according to which:
- a) the Lachin Corridor shall remain under the control of the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation,
- b) the Republic of Azerbaijan shall guarantee safe movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo in both directions along the Lachin corridor.
“Therefore, Azerbaijan grossly violates the international obligation assumed by it. This behavior of Azerbaijan not only demonstrates its lack of intention to address the issues of the rights and security of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh and to hold a dialogue with Stepanakert for this purpose, but also once again testifies to the fact that official Baku continues pursuing the policy of ethnic cleansing towards Nagorno-Karabakh.
“The blockade of the Lachin Corridor is the practical manifestation of many alarms that Azerbaijan has adopted a policy of genocide against the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. The regular violations of the ceasefire regime and the provocations by the Azerbaijani armed forces on the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh make the existential threat to Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh more tangible.
“We underscore that international commitments, including the strict fulfillment of the commitments undertaken by the Trilateral Statement of November 9, the refusal of the use of force or the threat of the use of force, the strict observance of the ceasefire regime, the ensuring of uninterrupted movement in the Lachin Corridor under the supervision of Russian peacekeepers are of key importance for the political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the establishment of lasting peace and stability in the region, and for the peaceful coexistence of peoples.
“We call the urgent attention of the entire international community, including the UN Security Council, OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairing and member states, that Azerbaijan’s actions may lead to a large-scale humanitarian disaster. We emphasize the necessity of launching or restarting the international mechanisms for ensuring the rights and security of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh, and for this purpose we shall soon start consultations with international partners.”
10:30 a.m: During the Security Council Session in Artsakh it was decided to send a letter to the command of the Russian peacekeeping mission calling the closure of the corridor inadmissible, which will lead to a humanitarian disaster. The military-political situation created as a result of the blockade of the corridor connecting Artsakh to the outside world by Azerbaijan was discussed.
It was underscored that the uninterrupted operation of the corridor is guaranteed by the November 9, 2020 tripartite statement, the provisions of which are once again violated by the Azerbaijani side.
President Arayik Harutyunyan emphasized that the authorities are taking all measures possible to solve the issues related to ensuring security and normal functioning of daily life of the population.
9:12 a.m.: CivilNet wrote that on July 5, 2022 the Azerbaijani government had approved Anglo Asian Mining’s acquisition of three new mining licenses, including the Kashen mine, known in Azerbaijani as Demirli, and which is located in Nagorno-Karabakh’s Martakert region. An Azerbaijani group of so-called observers had attempted to approach the mine on December 10. John H. Sununu, former Governor of New Hampshire and White House Chief of Staff under President George H. W. Bush controls 9.4% of its shares. Anglo Asian notes on its website that Russian peacekeepers are currently deployed in the area and the Azerbaijani government “will use all its reasonable endeavors to ensure that the Company has physical access to the region to undertake mineral exploration.”
December 12, 2022
11:14 p.m.: Ned Price, the spokesperson of the U.S. State Department said during a press briefing that Washington has been following the situation and has consistently focused on this challenge, on the need to de-escalate tensions, on the need to set Armenia and Azerbaijan on the path to a lasting, comprehensive settlement. According to Price, Philip Reeker, the U.S. senior advisor for the South Caucasus, has been actively engaged with officials in both countries to see to it that Washington is doing everything they can and, most importantly, that these two countries are doing everything they can to see to it that these tensions are de-escalated.
6:12 p.m.: The Foreign Ministry of Artsakh issued the following statement:
“Today, Azerbaijan has once again resorted to provocative actions, blocking the Goris-Stepanakert highway in the Shushi section.
“This is another manifestation of Baku’s genocidal policy, a destructive and criminal act aimed at terrorizing the people of Artsakh, creating an atmosphere of instability in the region and hindering the activities of the Russian peacekeeping mission.
“As usual, Azerbaijan displays an absolutely disrespectful and inconsistent attitude towards its obligations assumed by the trilateral statement of November 9, 2020, in particular, it does not guarantee the secure movement of citizens, vehicles and cargo in both directions through the Lachin Corridor.
“The Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Artsakh strongly condemns the actions of official Baku and calls on the international community to take practical steps to put an end to Azerbaijan’s ambitions towards the sovereign territories of Artsakh and to provide appropriate conditions for the realization of the fundamental rights of Artsakh Armenians.”
5:19 p.m.: Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had a telephone conversation with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. They discussed issues related to resolving the situation on the Lachin Corridor. Prime Minister Pashinyan emphasized the importance of ensuring uninterrupted communication between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh and the implementation of consistent steps by the Russian peacekeeping mission in that direction. Pashinyan and Putin also discussed the process of unblocking the regional infrastructure, as well as the implementation of the trilateral statements of November 9, 2020, January 11 and November 26, 2021 and October 31, 2022.
3:57 p.m.: The Human Rights Defender of Artsakh, Gegham Stepanyan wrote the following statement:
“Today, Azerbaijan has once again closed the only road connecting Artsakh with Armenia and the outside world under fake environmental pretexts. This provocation is yet another manifestation of the systematic and government-led policy of Azerbaijan, the ultimate goal of which is the total expulsion of the Armenian native population from Artsakh. By this action, Azerbaijan deliberately undermines any conception of peace in our region by openly neglecting the rights of 120,000 Armenians of Artsakh and intentionally disrupting their normal life.
“On December 12, 2022, at around 10:30, a group of alleged Azerbaijani environmentalists and journalists blocked the Stepanakert-Goris Highway on the Shushi section in both directions. The closure of the Lachin corridor by the Azerbaijani side is a rude violation of the Trilateral Statement on ceasefire of November 9, 2020. By this action Azerbaijan blatantly violates the fundamental rights of the Artsakh population, most importantly, their freedom of movement, for which it is criminally responsible. Hundreds of vehicles, including humanitarian, medical and food supplies, are stuck on the Highway for more than five hours now in harsh winter conditions. This critical situation is fraught with irreversible humanitarian consequences for the whole population of Artsakh.
“Paradoxically, the Azerbaijani environmentalist community was silent, when Azerbaijan was using white phosphorus ammunition, prohibited under the international humanitarian law, against the peaceful settlements of Artsakh during the 2020 war. The usage of phosphorus ammunition by Azerbaijan, recently confirmed by an independent investigation, also caused severe damage to the natural environment of Artsakh, which the Azerbaijani side is now, all of the sudden, preoccupied about. Thus, the intentions of this fabricated environmental campaign are highly questionable and totally provocative, as it is aimed at terrorizing the Armenians of Artsakh – both psychologically and physically – and making them leave their own land.
“The protection of the rights of Artsakh people is not solely the responsibility of several international actors, but it is the obligation of the entire international community, which champions human rights worldwide. Therefore, the international community must take a clear stance and immediate action to condemn and prevent this provocative line led by Azerbaijan. Otherwise, the ethnic cleansing of Artsakh Armenians will be an inevitable reality, bringing humanity to yet another humanitarian failure.”
3:50 p.m.: The parliamentary factions of the Parliament of Artsakh issued a statement, noting that: Azerbaijanis who have used phosphorus bombs against the civilian population of Artsakh, blocked the Stepanakert-Goris highway for the second time under an environmental pretext. That is the road, which received the status of a corridor by the tripartite agreement of November 9, 2020.
We strongly condemn the provocative actions organized by the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan, which are aimed at destabilizing the situation in the region.
We appeal to the citizens of the Republic of Artsakh to exercise restraint and be alert in order to jointly prevent any provocative actions of Azerbaijanis jointly. Our people who have overcome many difficulties during their struggle for survival, this time also will confront current and future challenges.
We call on the international community to take concrete steps to curb Azerbaijan’s aggressive ambitions.
We urge the Russian peacekeepers, within the framework of the tripartite agreement, to prevent similar anti-human actions of Azerbaijanis with the most severe measures.
3:37 p.m.: Advisor to the State Minister of Artsakh, Artak Beglaryan wrote the following statement on Facebook: “Azerbaijan continues to block the only Artsakh-Armenia road for five hours. Azerbaijani special forces are committing crimes under the name of Aliyev and Azerbaijan disguised as ‘civilians’ and ‘eco-activists’. With this action Azebaijan is trying to create a humanitarian disaster in Artsakh, to terrorize the 120,000 strong population of Artsakh which is in a complete blockade, as well as to discredit the Russian peacekeeping mission. The Azerbaijani side is strongly mistaken if it thinks that Artsakh will go to any compromises because of this pressure. Our determination to live in our own homeland and be in charge of our own destiny is unbreakable.”
1:36 p.m.: Artsakh’s president, Arayik Harutunyan made the following statement:
It’s the second time Azerbaijan blocks the only highway connecting Artsakh to Armenia and the outer world for false and fictitious reasons.
First of all, such an aggressive behaviour of Azerbaijan by means of which it terrorizes our citizens and jeopardizes our vital rights and interests, is extremely unacceptable for us. This is an unprecedented challenge for our state and people and I call upon our society to consolidate and stay calm as one of the goals of the Azerbaijani authorities is to incite internal dissidence and panic in Artsakh.
The authorities and people of Artsakh have precise values, principles and red lines, for the protection of which we exert and will continue to exert all the efforts possible, which are sometimes invisible.
We are sure that the Russian peacekeeping troops, as a guarantor of the security of our people and the road, will apply all the mechanisms to prevent such provocations and violations of agreements directed against the vital rights and interests of our people.
Other actors of the international community also have important work to do as the actions of the Azerbaijani side grossly violate the well-known norms of the international law, while Azerbaijan strives for ethnic cleansing and expatriation of Artsakh’s population.
Artsakh has been and will remain Armenian through our united and determined efforts notwithstanding all the challenges.
10:30 a.m.: This morning at 10:30 a.m., a group of Azerbaijanis claiming to be environmentalists once again blocked the only highway linking Armenia with Artsakh near the Shushi-Karin Tak intersection. According to the NKR Infocenter, the command of the Russian Peacekeeping contingent has been informed about the incident. A similar incident happened on December 3 when Azerbaijanis in civilian clothing shut down the highway, which opened three hours later following negotiations with the Russian peacekeepers.