By K. Khodanian

The President of Artsakh, Arayik Harutyunyan, has taken a courageous step by joining protesting citizens in a sit-in at Stepanakert’s Revival Square. He passionately criticized the international community’s indifference to the hardships faced by Artsakh Armenians and the violation of their human rights. Unsatisfied with mere requests, he urged for urgent international intervention to restore stability and normalcy for his people within a week. Should this intervention fail to materialize, he hinted at the possibility of further actions to address the pressing issues without indicating what those steps might be.

This move comes in the wake of recent statements from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. The Russian side, this time more forcefully, demanded the opening of the Lachin Corridor but also distanced itself from taking practical steps, highlighting Armenia’s recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan. “We respect the sovereign decision of the Armenian leadership, but it has radically changed the fundamental conditions under which the November 9, 2020 declaration of the leaders of Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan was signed, as well as the status of the Russian peacekeeping force deployed in the region. We believe that under these conditions, the responsibility for the fate of the Armenian population of Karabakh should not be transferred to third countries,” said the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia.

First of all, Russia was among those who encouraged Armenia to recognize the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and was in favor of the “Zangezur Corridor” idea, which was categorically rejected by Armenia. Secondly, from the very beginning, Russia failed to fulfill its obligations under the tripartite agreement signed at the end of the 44-day war. When Azerbaijan advanced inside the zone of peacekeepers, the Russian side did not take appropriate steps. When the “environmentalists” closed the road, the peacekeepers again made no effort to remove them. When Azerbaijan established a checkpoint at the entrance to Lachin, the same inaction happened again. Therefore, by removing the responsibility from itself, Russia proves that it is not able to protect its interests within the Caucasus region. Thanks to Russia’s failed policies, Turkey has become an important actor in the region, and today President Erdogan reserves the right to say that “by 2025, Russian peacekeepers must leave the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.” Turkey’s growing involvement in the region has further complicated matters, and President Erdogan’s statements indicate potential changes to the presence of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh.

A few days ago, Turkey, betraying its close relations with Russia, went to the NATO summit, where, completely changing its declared stands, expressed its loyalty to the West, revoked its veto against the membership of Sweden in NATO, and promised to build a “Byraktar” drone factory in Ukraine. Russia, not Armenia, bears significant responsibility for the difficulties faced by the people of Artsakh by not protecting its interests in the region.

Among the reasons for the anger of the Artsakh president are the words of the European Council president at the end of the Pashinyan-Aliyev-Michel meeting held in Brussels, which differed from the statements he made at the end of the previous Brussels meeting. This time, Michel spoke about providing humanitarian aid through the Azeri-controlled city of Aghtam, thereby insulting the dignity of Artsakh Armenians. He also used the term “Lachini Road” instead of Lachin Corridor, thus adopting the views of the Baku leadership.

The humanitarian crisis in Artsakh is deepening, prompting President Harutyunyan to call upon Russia, Western countries, and European bodies to take practical and effective steps instead of simple appeals. If 120,000 people in any other corner of the world were facing the threat of starvation, many countries would have rushed to help them.

The humanitarian crisis in Artsakh demands immediate attention, and President Haroutunian’s bold move aims to hold international actors accountable for their indifference. The president’s speech carries serious implications, and his threats must not be ignored; they deserve careful consideration and meaningful action from the international community.

MASSIS

1 comment
  1. President of Arsakh is wholly right .where is the world where is conscious people of the world .Arsakhi children are dying of hunger & water.here is Genocide of 2023 by Azerbaijan & Turkey .here we go again 1915 2023 .where is the goddam worlds conscious .Hayer miasek .

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