STEPANAKERT — Artsakh’s State Minister Ruben Vardanyan is calling on Canada and the international community to pressure Azerbaijan to reopen the Lachin corridor. He is also calling for the creation of an “air corridor” to fly in supplies to the region, and for sanctions on the government of Azerbaijan.

“It is unacceptable in a winter to put 30,000 kids in a situation where they have no food, no education, and no electricity or gas,” Vardanyan told The Hill Times.

“[Azerbaijan] needs to accept that there needs to be dialogue … this cannot be solved with a military solution or by squeezing 120,000 people from their own homeland in an ethnic cleansing,” he said.

Artsakh’s State Minister, who spoke with The Hill Times via Zoom on Jan. 31, challenged Azerbaijan’s count of the number of vehicles being allowed to travel through the Lachin corridor, describing the flow of vehicles as “a few hundred” since Dec. 12, most of which belonged to Russian peacekeepers and the Red Cross bringing medicine and humanitarian aid.

“For comparison, before the blockade around 800-1,000 vehicles were entering Artsakh every day,” Vardanyan said, adding that the blockade had shut down more than just sufficient deliveries of medicine, fuel, electricity, or food.

“Our entire economy is shut down because we cannot bring any commercial vehicles, we cannot bring any resources or any materials for production or export any commodities that are produced here,” Vardanyan explained, adding that due to the shortages of fuel and electricity, schools have also been forced to close.

Presenting the inhumane conditions created in Artsakh as a result of the blockade, the periodical writes that on January 25, the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations and International Development of the Canadian House of Commons convened two sessions to consider the topic of the blockade of the Lachin Corridor, in the framework of which professor at the University of Windsor Christopher Waters characterized the blocking of humanitarian aid to Artsakh as “de facto ethnic cleansing”. The article also quotes committee members Heather McPherson and Jean-Pierre Godbout as saying that Canada should use its diplomatic channels at the UN to pressure Azerbaijan to open the Lachine Corridor.

“It is unacceptable in a winter to put 30,000 kids in a situation where they have no food, no education, and no electricity or gas,” Vardanyan added. “[Azerbaijan] needs to accept that there needs to be dialogue … this cannot be solved with a military solution or by squeezing 120,000 people from their own homeland in an ethnic cleansing.”

 

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