Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and Council President Paul Krikorian (youtube grab)

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian officially asked President Joe Biden to help the people of Artsakh who are now under blockade.

In a joint letter addressed to President Biden, Bass and Krekorian said :

“Vladimir Putin’s brutality in stifling democracy is not limited to Ukraine. Today, because of his actions, 120,000 ethnically Armenian med, women and children in the democratic Republic of Artsakh are facing a slow death by freezing, starvation or lack of medical care.

This unfolding humanitarian catastrophe is the result of a deliberate blockade instigated by Azerbaijan’s dictator Aliyev, with the support of Russian troops, who are essentially holding the people of Artsakh hostage by siege. Through this illegal blockade, these two dictatorships are seeking to punish Artsakh and Armenia for daring to promote democracy and stability in the region. Worse, in the absence of bold action by the United States, the world may soon be witnessing another Srebrenica or Sarajevo, and ultimately the genocidal destruction of all Armenian presence in the region.

Since December 12, Russian “peacekeeper” troops who are charged with maintaining the Lachin Corridor – Artsakh’s only lifeline to Armenia and the rest of the world – have allowed Azerbaijan to blockade it, thereby cutting off all access to food, fuel, medicine and other humanitarian supplies. Schools have been forced to close, store shelves are empty, and hospitals cannot obtain medical supplies or perform vital procedures. There is no way to transport 350 seriously ill patients to neighboring Armenia for critical care, which has already resulted in one death and will lead to the deaths of many more if the blockade is not lifted.

The U.S. Representative to the United Nations has called for the blockade to be lifted, in order to allow the free movement of people and goods from Artsakh to Armenia. But demands alone, without firm punitive action, will not motivate Aliyev’s criminal regime to behave like a civilized nation, particularly when Russia also seeks to use the blockade to advance its own anti-Western and anti-democratic regional goals.

Azerbaijan’s brutal and unprovoked military attack against Artsakh in 2020 resulted in a Nagorno-Karabakh Ceasefire Agreement, signed on November 9, 2020 by Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia with the concurrence of the Republic of Artsakh. The current blockade is a direct and shameless violation of the express terms of that agreement by Russia and Azerbaijan, both of whom continue to demonstrate contempt for democracy and the rule of law among nations.

The United States must clearly demonstrate its commitment to democracy and global stability by coming to the aid of the people of Artsakh. That immediate and unambiguous response should include:

1. Providing direct U.S. humanitarian assistance to Artsakh, including food and medical supplies;

2. Making clear to Putin and Aliyev that the United States demands and will act to ensure the safe passage of flights into Artsakh to provide aid;

3. Assertive U.S. diplomatic engagement to facilitate negotiations between Baku and Stepanakert to guarantee the rights and security of the Armenian population of Artsakh;

4. Insisting that Russian troops in Artsakh be replaced by international peacekeepers;

5. Taking tangible action against the regime in Azerbaijan to hold it accountable for its crimes pursuant to Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act and the Magnitsky Act.

Along with other representatives of communities across our country who share these concerns, we urge you and Vice President Harris to meet as soon as possible with Armenian-American community leaders and the Congressional Armenian Caucus to discuss this urgent situation. We look forward to receiving your assurance that the United State will not stand idly by while aggressive dictatorships pursue a genocidal policy against their democratic neighbors.”

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