STEPANAKERT — Azerbaijan has cutoff natural gas supply to Nagorno-Karabakh, The authorities in Stepanakert reported on Tuesday.
“Under such weather conditions, cutting off the supply of blue fuel is a humanitarian and economic terrorism that Azerbaijan consistently carries out against the peaceful population of Nagorno-Karabakh,” it said in a statement.
Karabakh Human Rights Defender Gegham Stepanyan confirmed the information.
“Azerbaijan cut off the gas supply on the whole territory of Nagorno-Karabakh (the Armenia-Nagorno-Karabakh gas pipeline runs through the territory controlled by Azerbaijan), at the same time the people of Artsakh have been in a complete blockade for 32 hours. If this is not a crime, then what,” he tweeted.
The gas cutoff comes amid a continuing standoff between Russian peacekeeping troops and a large group of Azerbaijanis blocking a section of the sole road connecting Karabakh to Armenia.
The “protesters” are demanding that Azerbaijani officials be allowed to inspect two gold and copper mines in Karabakh. Baku claimed last week that mining operations there are “illegal.”
As a result of the blockade, around 1,100 people, including 270 children, have been left stranded on the highway in freezing winter weather, according to Gegham Stepanyan. About 200 of them spent Monday night in guesthouses in the southern Armenian town of Goris, while others stayed with their vehicles on the road.
Azerbaijan first disrupted the supply of natural gas to Karabakh on March 8, 2022 for 11 days ‘ to fix damage to a pipeline’ pumping natural gas from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh on a section passing through Baku-controlled territory.
Gas supply was resumed on March 19, but again was interrupted on March 21 when Nagorno-Karabakh’s authorities accused Baku of having turned off the valve on the pipeline that the Azerbaijani side had installed during the repairs.