Yerenvan, Dec 29 (Representative) Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday called on Russia to initiate a discussion in the United Nations Security Council on the blockade of the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. Since December 12, the road, which runs through the Lachin district of Azerbaijan, has been blocked by a group of people from Azerbaijan, described by state media as environmental activists protesting against alleged Armenian illegal mining in the area. According to Pashinyan, the blockade of the Lachin corridor violates the sixth term of the ceasefire declaration brokered by Russia between Armenia and Azerbaijan after a 1.5-month long armed conflict in 2020. The document delegated the control of the Lachin corridor to Russian peacekeepers deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh. “Obligations under this term are assigned to two parties — Azerbaijan and Russia… Under these conditions, the Russian peacekeeping force in Nagorno-Karabakh and Russia, which have taken specific security obligations to the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, should come forward with a clear explanation of the situation,” Pashinyan said during a government meeting.
Both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh await Russia’s assessment of the situation and a plan to restore the traffic, the prime minister noted. “Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and if due to various objective or subjective reasons it is unable to ensure security and stability in Nagorno-Karabakh on its own, then it should initiate a discussion in the UN Security Council on either granting the Russian peacekeeping force a UN Security Council mandate or sending an additional multinational peacekeeping force to Nagorno-Karabakh,” Pashinyan said. Armenia is a firm supporter of the Russian peacekeepers’ presence in Nagorno-Karabakh, but it is unacceptable for Yerevan when peacekeepers “are silently witnessing the expulsion of Armenians” from the region,” Pashinyan said.
On Tuesday, Pashinyan discussed the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of an informal regional summit in St. Petersburg. The Russian Defense Ministry said its peacekeeping force was in talks with the Azerbaijani authorities to resume traffic in Lachin. The United States and France – the two other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group for the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process – have called on Azerbaijan to unblock the Lachin route.