YEREVAN — Azerbaijan on Sunday set up a checkpoint on the Lachin corridor, only road connecting Nagorno Karabakh republic with Armenia, in violation of 2020 ceasefire agreement.
In a statement, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry cited “the continued systematic and large-scale misuse” of the only overland route “for illicit purposes by the Armenian side.”
“The said control mechanism shall be implemented in interaction with the Russian peacekeeping force,” the statement added.
The Armenian side has, for its part, accused Azerbaijan of seeking a pretext for isolating Karabakh Armenians.
Karabakh authorities accused Baku of violating the terms of the Moscow-brokered 2020 ceasefire agreement under which the road passing through a five-kilometer-wide area known of Lachin corridor should be under the control of Russian peacekeepers.
In a statement disseminated by the state-run Information Center on Sunday the authorities stressed that Nagorno-Karabakh considers the closure of the bridge over the Hakari river by Azerbaijan to be “a criminal step aimed at strengthening the blockade of Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh – ed.] and ethnic cleansing.”
According to the Information Center, Nagorno-Karabakh president Arayik Harutyunyan has called an emergency meeting of the republic’s Security Council to discuss “the latest developments and relevant actions of the authorities.”
“All parties to the tripartite declaration, and especially the Russian Federation, to immediately start discussions on lifting the blockade of Artsakh and preventing the establishment of an Azerbaijani checkpoint.” the Security Council said in a statement.
Baku’s decision to set up a border checkpoint at the beginning of the road from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh comes a day after a report by Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense about an incident in which three Azerbaijani servicemen were reportedly injured when their vehicle was blown up on a mine allegedly supplied from Armenia. In another statement the ministry claimed that Russian peacekeepers controlling the area again helped Armenians transport “military cargoes” from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh via the Lachin road. The Armenian side has denied both accusations.