ALMATY — ‘The Russian Federation is the key partner of Armenia in the field of security and, unfortunately, the situation is not so good with us in the field of security,’ Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Thursday on the sidelines of an EEU gathering in Kazakhstan, the Armenian government press office reported.

Pashinyan said: ‘You know that Lachin Corridor has been blocked for more than a month, and according to the trilateral declaration of the President of the Russian Federation, the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia, it should be under the control of Russian peacekeepers. Now it turns out that the Lachin Corridor is not under the control of Russian peacekeepers, which creates specific problems.

Now we can say that a humanitarian crisis is escalating in Nagorno Karabakh. It is a very important and sensitive issue in our bilateral relations. Unfortunately, we have certain issues in the field of security also in the multilateral format, in the CSTO, and we hope that we will manage to solve all these issues. We are working, we are interested, but unfortunately, frankly speaking, we see no progress in those directions.

During the CSTO Yerevan summit, it seemed to us that we had reached concrete agreements regarding the opening of regional economic and transport infrastructures.

President Putin had arrived with specific proposals and we agreed on aspects of those agreed options for opening up regional infrastructure, but unfortunately, these agreements could not be implemented later due to the unconstructive and counterproductive position of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

But you know that we are not only ready, but are also interested in the opening of transport and economic infrastructures, because in fact the Republic of Armenia has been under Azerbaijani blockade for the last 30 years and we are of course very interested in opening all transport and economic infrastructures in the region.

We believe that this should happen in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Armenia. I mean point 9 of the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020, which we made more concrete in the trilateral statement of January 11, 2021. We have repeatedly said that in the implementation of point 9 of the trilateral declaration, we must act in accordance with the legislation of the countries through the territories of which those infrastructures pass.’

On December 12, Azerbaijan effectively cut off access to Nagorno-Karabakh, letting a group of self-described Azerbaijani “eco-activists” with no history of environmental advocacy barge through Russian peacekeepers to block the sole road linking Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.

Local authorities had to close schools and put 120,000 inhabitants on ration cards as Azerbaijan continues to disrupt gas and electricity supplies amid sub-zero temperatures.

Armenia’s leaders accuse Azerbaijan of seeking to ethnically cleanse Nagorno-Karabakh by starving the local ethnic Armenian population and forcing it to leave.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said in a January 10 TV interview: ‘For those (of Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians) who does not want to become Azerbaijani citizen, the road is not closed. They can leave. They can go on their own, or they can ride with Russian peacekeepers, or they can go by bus. The road to Armenia is open.”

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