STEPANAKERT — For almost five months now, the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) has been under siege, accompanied by an unlawful transport and energy blockade, as one of the main instruments of the ethnic cleansing policy consistently and systematically pursued by Azerbaijan at the state level, the Artsakh Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It says as part of this policy, the Azerbaijani authorities are trying not only to create unbearable socio-economic conditions, but also artificially provoke an environmental disaster and undermine the foundations of sustainable development of Artsakh. In particular, Azerbaijan is still preventing the repair of the damaged Aghavno-Berdzor section of the only high-voltage power line running from Armenia to Artsakh.

To deepen the energy crisis, Azerbaijan has also regularly disrupted the supply of natural gas from Armenia to Artsakh. It has been two months since the last cut off.

As a result, the hydroelectric power plant on the Sarsang reservoir became the only means to mitigate the energy crisis, however, the continued Azerbaijani policy of siege and energy blockade resulted in the release of an unprecedented amount of water from the reservoir to generate the electricity needed for the besieged population of Artsakh during the cold winter period.

The authorities of Artsakh have repeatedly drawn the attention of the international community to the fact that the continued deliberate obstruction by Azerbaijan of natural gas and electricity supply from Armenia to Artsakh will lead to disastrous consequences, in particular for the Sarsang reservoir, which is the largest and most critically important source of freshwater in Artsakh.

Shallowing of the Sarsang reservoir will have serious environmental consequences for the entire ecosystem of the region, and will deprive the population of both Artsakh and some regions of Azerbaijan of water resources necessary for normal life activity.

By creating prerequisites for the shallowing of the Sarsang reservoir and provoking an environmental disaster, the Azerbaijani authorities are pursuing several goals, including creating unbearable living conditions in Artsakh and preparing the ground for accusations of unscrupulous use of water resources as a pretext for new military provocations.

‘We emphasize again that due to the ongoing unlawful and aggressive actions of Azerbaijan, the humanitarian situation in the Republic of Artsakh and the overall military-political situation in the region are rapidly deteriorating. In the current extremely dangerous situation, we consider it absolutely necessary to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the Trilateral Statement of 9 November 2020, as well as the immediate and resolute intervention of the international community and, first of all, the UN Security Council, to prevent the continuation of massive and systematic violations of human rights in Artsakh and to stop the criminal plans and genocidal intentions of Azerbaijan,’ the statement says.-

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