Armenia Says Food Shortages Hit Nagorno-Karabakh Amid Azerbaijan Blockade – US NEWS

TBILISI (Reuters) – The breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is running short of food due to a blockade now well into its second week, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was quoted as saying on Thursday, blaming Azerbaijan.

The enclave is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but its inhabitants are predominantly Armenian and it broke away after a war in the early 1990s. In 2020, Azerbaijan retook territory in and around Nagorno-Karabakh after a short war that ended in a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

Pashinyan said the humanitarian situation in the enclave was “extremely tense as a result of the illegal blockade by Azerbaijan of the Lachin corridor,” Armenia’s Hetq news site quoted him as telling his cabinet.

Pashinyan added that he had proposed terms to Azerbaijan for lifting the blockade.

The only road across Azerbaijani territory connecting Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh runs through the corridor, which a group of Azerbaijani civilians describing themselves as ecological activists blockaded on Dec. 13.

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“Hundreds of families remain divided on different sides of the blockade. In Nagorno-Karabakh, there are shortages of a number of essential goods, including food,” Pashinyan said.

Azerbaijan says the activists are involved in a genuine protest against illegal Armenian mining in Nagorno-Karabakh and it was Russian peacekeepers who closed the road.

Hetq also quoted Pashinyan as saying the peacekeepers were not fulfilling responsibilities assigned to them when deployed to the region in 2020.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian peacekeepers worked to ensure peace and order in areas where they were deployed. “Their actions are carried out in accordance with the spirit and letters of the documents that are signed by us,” he said.

Violations of the 2020 ceasefire remain commonplace, with more than 200 soldiers killed on both sides in a flare-up of fighting in September.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by John Stonestreet)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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