Pashinyan blasts Russia of becoming a “silent witness” to the Azerbaijani blockade of Lachin Corridor
As the Azerbaijani siege over the Lachin Corridor, the only lifeline of Nagorno-Karabakh that connects the region to Armenia is approaching to three weeks, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan once again blasted Russia of not putting a sufficient effort to end the blockade.
Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh has become a “silent witness” to the blockade, Pashinyan said, urging Moscow to provide “clear explanations” regarding the situation.
“What is Russia’s assessment of the situation? What is its plan and roadmap for restoring the Lachin Corridor? The public in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh expects answers to these questions from Russia, who is a permanent member of the UN Security Council,” Pashinyan said on Thursday, Asbarez reported.
Since Dec.12, the Azerbaijani government-sponsored protesters defining themselves as environmental activists have blocked the Lachin Corridor, claiming that Armenians in Karabakh were illegally mining the gold and copper reserves in nearby mines. The blockage halted the movement of people and goods in or out of the enclave, including food, fuel, and medical supplies, resulting in shortages of the products.
Slamming the Azerbaijani allegations as of being “fake”, Armenia requested the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to indicate interim measures against Azerbaijan, a demand that was granted. International community, including UN Security Council and the Council of Europe and Western powers such as the United States and France also urged Baku to end the blockade.
Russia has a peacekeeping force in the region, deployed under the truce agreement signed by Azerbaijan and Armenia in November 2020 following a six-week long fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“If for objective or subjective reasons Russia is unable to ensure stability and security in Nagorno Karabakh, then I believe it must initiate a discussion in the UN Security Council and raise the issue of either granting the UN Security Council mandate to the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno Karabakh or deploying an additional, multinational peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno Karabakh,” Pashinyan said during a cabinet meeting on Thursday.
“This question is arising because Azerbaijan’s closure of the Lachin Corridor is not the first case of Azerbaijan’s invasion into the area of responsibility of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Nagorno Karabakh,” he said.
In response to Pashinyan, Russia said the any criticism of the Russian peacekeeping contingent in relation to the Lachin Corridor “situation” is unacceptable.
“We have on numerous occasions said that the Russian peacekeepers are doing everything possible to resolve the situation on the ground,” Asbarez cited Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova as saying.
The Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also on Thursday told reporters that Russia “intends to further continue its mediation efforts, implementing first of all the agreements which have been reached on trilateral bases.”